NewSTHEPS: New Strategies for Monitoring and Risk Assessment of Hazardous Chemicals in the Marine

NewSTHEPS will develop innovative approaches and novel practical techniques that address the current fundamental scientific and methodological issues related to the implementation of Good Environmental Status (GES) for Descriptor 8 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive in national and European waters.

In this research project, novel and integrated passive sampler (PS)-based approaches (modelling and measurements) will be developed for both chemical exposure (monitoring) and biological effect assessment (passive dosing). Through the use of a broader array of PS techniques, applicable in a wide polarity range, the project will focus on the quantitation of an extended set of priority and emerging organic micropollutants and metals (targeted approach). Next to that, untargeted analysis with high-resolution mass spectrometry will be performed to develop qualitative screening approaches able to detect trace levels of a virtually unlimited number of known (suspect) and possibly unknown contaminants. For a selection of compounds, both the total concentration and labile fraction (i.e. bioavailable) will be determined.

Additionally, to trace the Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) towards its origin, carbon (12C/13C) and nitrogen (14N/15N) stable isotope ratios will be measured, since organic matter from marine and terrestrial origin has a different isotopic C and sometimes N signature. In some cases, the sources of the organic matter present in the marine environment might be identified. In addition, modelling techniques will be of great support.

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