One of the most important challenges in environmental toxicology is to understand how responses to chemical pollutants scale through levels of biological complexity (from cells to ecosystems). In particular, research on the contribution of molecular responses to physiological changes, and physiological changes to vertical interactions across trophic levels within ecosystems is in its early stages of development. Genes and molecular pathways determine life-history (fitness) traits, and these influence dynamics in interacting populations. The goal of this research is to implement, calibrate and connect mechanistic models on the molecular and on the food-web level through their common link of life-history traits. We will develop concepts and experimental approaches to measure life-history traits in interacting populations of a simple predator-prey system (daphnia and green algae), after chronic exposure to sub-lethal concentrations of pesticides.
Project start: October 2015