Aquatic organisms are exposed to an ever-increasing variety of chemicals. In the area of chemical risk assessment and molecular ecotoxicology it is therefore crucial to identify and understand the underlying molecular mechanisms of their stress response. Metabolites reflect the current biochemical state of an organism and hence can be used to capture the dynamics of the metabolic network in response to stress. Metabolic changes happen on a smaller timescale than the resulting physiological changes. In order to obtain insights into these metabolic adaptations we use a high throughput direct infusion method for the analysis of primary metabolites in algae and zebrafish at high temporal resolution and high number of experimental conditions.
Currently we are analyzing the metabolic response of model organisms to silver, zinc, copper and aluminum. A collaborative seed project with Anita Narwani (Eco) will investigate the impact of temperature and resource limitation on phytoplankton metabolism.