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Chair Animal Ecology I (Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch)

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Microplastics In Europe’s Freshwater Ecosystems: from sources to solutions

Synthetic polymers have become an indispensable part in our daily life. Besides the indisputable benefits of plastic materials, major concerns arise about plastic leakage to the environment. Small plastic particles so-called microplastics (MP) have been detected ubiquitously in various ecosystems around the globe where they are bioavailable for a broad range of organisms may negatively affect ecosystems and consequently society and economy.

While there is political motivation to solve the MP issue most activities focus on marine environments. However, emerging research demonstrates that freshwater ecosystems are highly affected by MP pollution and are a major MP pathway to the oceans. 

The LimnoPlast project addresses this issue by devoting its research and training program to MP in Europe’s freshwater ecosystems. LimnoPlast challenges traditional barriers between disciplines and sectors and combines environmental, technical and social sciences in order to tackle the MP problem from its sources to potential solutions in a holistic approach.

More Information: Homepage limnoplast

Subprojects by the chair Animal ecology I

Biological effects of MP from biodegradable plastics in freshwater invertebrates

Data on the effects of MP from biodegradable polymers on biota are currently not available. Since those MP consist of many different polymers, ESR1 will focus on the polymer type and shape which is closely connected to environmental degradation. ESR1 will expose freshwater key species to MP from relevant biodegradable polymers on the market to determine their toxicity. The diverse toxicological endpoints investigated in vivo comprise life cycle parameters, metabolism, and stress.

At EVONIK, ESR1 will investigate removal of MP from wastewater.

Simona Mondellini – ESR01

M.Sc. Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology – University of Milan

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1st Supervisor: Christian Laforsch
2nd Supervisor: Martin Löder

The Innovative Training Network (ITN) LimnoPlast is funded for four years to the tune of almost €4.1 million by the EU out of its “Horizon 2020” programme in the framework of the Marie Skłodowska Curie measures.

Since it’s official start at 1st of November 2019, 12 Beneficiaries (universities, research institutions and partners from industry) from eight European countries, are looking for 15 motivated PhD candidates to train in the context of microplastics in Europe’s freshwater. 13 Partner Organisations support LimnoPlast with additional expertise from different sectors.

LimnoPlast is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch of the University of Bayreuth.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 86072


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