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Netherlands Polar Data Center

Project - Quantification and modelling of Fluxes of Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to Antarctic marine benthic organisms (FluxPOPs). (FluxPOPs)

Summary

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) can be found globally, even in Antarctica. Monitoring of contaminant levels in such a remote areas can assess the efficacy of global policies on the environmental release of contaminants. Recent studies showed contrasting time trends in pelagic and benthic food webs of the Antarctic marine ecosystem. The relatively sparse data on Antarctic POP levels indicate that for a quantitative assessment of trends, it is essential to gain more insight in the dynamics of POPs in different compartments of the Antarctic marine ecosystem. In the current project it is proposed to quantify levels and fluxes of POPs in essential parts of the Antarctic marine ecosystem. We will focus on benthic organisms because these are considered to be the final receptors of POPs. The transport of POPs from the atmosphere to the marine environment is considered to be closely related to the dynamics of the sea ice so the project focusses on this process by time resolved sampling of ice, water and algae. To assess the downward transport of POPs to the benthic system, associated samples will be collected at different depths. Finally, uptake in benthic organisms will be quantified experimentally. Sophisticated models will be developed on the environmental fate of POPs in the pelago-benthic system and uptake of POPs benthic organisms. This project will provide the first quantification and modelling of fluxes of POPs to the Antarctic benthic system. The results will facilitate the design and interpretation of monitoring system, focussed on global trends in POPs.

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