Microbial ecotoxicology: an emerging scientific field facing contemporary environmental threats

March 21, 2017, 2.00 pm - 3.00 pm

Eawag Dübendorf

Referent: Dr. Stéphane Pesce, IRSTEA, Lyon
Ort: Forum Chriesbach, FC-D24

Microbial ecotoxicology is a scientific field which aims at studying both (i) the ecological effects of toxicants on exposed microbial communities and their consequences on the various functions that they ensure in the ecosystems and (ii) the role of microbial communities in the ecodynamic of those pollutants (dissipation, transformation, accumulation, transfer...). Microbial ecotoxicology seeks not only to conduct fundamental researches to understand the impact of pollutants on microbial processes (and vice versa) but also to carry out applied researches to provide tools to monitor the evolution of the ecological quality of the environment.

This will be illustrated in the presentation through several examples of field and microcosm experiments which aimed to better establish the causal links between toxicant exposure and the structural and functional responses of benthic microbial communities under multiple environmental pressures. Among others, the presented results will show that the functional assessment of microbial communities, with a specific focus on their capacity to adapt to chronic exposure to toxicants, could give more ecological relevance to the tools that are now available for assessing the ecological status of aquatic ecosystems.