Department Environmental Toxicology

Aquatic Biofilms

Biofilms contribute to crucial ecosystem processes in aquatic ecosystems and capture much of the biological complexity occurring in the environment. Importantly, the high microbial diversity, and sensitivities to environmental changes, suggests that the microorganisms composing biofilms are a suitable model to assess contaminant effects on complex ecological systems. 

By using aquatic biofilms, we aim in our group to (i) unravel the underlying mechanisms of toxicity and biological responses to pollutants at the community level, and (ii) develop and optimize standardized risk assessment approaches accounting for the chemical and biological complexity in the environment. In particular, we are interested in understanding adaptation processes in microbial communities, following chronic exposures to pollutants, as these processes can be ultimately used to establish causalities in the environment.


Tlili, A.; Jabiol, J.; Behra, R.; Gil-Allue, C.; Gessner, M. O. (2017) Chronic exposure effects of silver nanoparticles on stream microbial decomposer communities and ecosystem functions, Environmental Science and Technology, 51(4), 2447-2455, doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b05508, Institutional Repository
Tlili, A.; Hollender, J.; Kienle, C.; Behra, R. (2017) Micropollutant-induced tolerance of in situ periphyton: establishing causality in wastewater-impacted streams, Water Research, 111, 185-194, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2017.01.016, Institutional Repository
Stamm, C.; Burdon, F.; Fischer, S.; Kienle, C.; Munz, N.; Tlili, A.; Altermatt, F.; Behra, R.; Bürgmann, H.; Joss, A.; Räsänen, K.; Eggen, R. (2017) Einfluss von Mikroverunreinigungen, Aqua & Gas, 97(6), 90-95, Institutional Repository
Tlili, A.; Cornut, J.; Behra, R.; Gil-Allué, C.; Gessner, M. O. (2016) Harmful effects of silver nanoparticles on a complex detrital model system, Nanotoxicology, 10(6), 728-735, doi:10.3109/17435390.2015.1117673, Institutional Repository
Gil-Allué, C.; Schirmer, K.; Tlili, A.; Gessner, M. O.; Behra, R. (2015) Silver nanoparticle effects on stream periphyton during short-term exposures, Environmental Science and Technology, 49(2), 1165-1172, doi:10.1021/es5050166, Institutional Repository
Tlili, A.; Berard, A.; Blanck, H.; Bouchez, A.; Cássio, F.; Eriksson, K. M.; Morin, S.; Montuelle, B.; Navarro, E.; Pascoal, C.; Pesce, S.; Schmitt-Jansen, M.; Behra, R. (2016) Pollution-induced community tolerance (PICT): towards an ecologically relevant risk assessment of chemicals in aquatic systems, Freshwater Biology, 61(12), 2141-2151, doi:10.1111/fwb.12558, Institutional Repository


Dr. Ahmed TliliDeputy head of departmentTel. +41 58 765 5330Send Mail

Team members

Emera ForniMaster StudentTel. +41 58 765 6845Send Mail
Dr. Olga LamprechtPostdoctoral ScientistTel. +41 58 765 6887Send Mail
Bettina WagnerLab TechnicianTel. +41 58 765 5342Send Mail

Introduction video

"Characterization of Aquatic Biofilms with Flow Cytometry"