Microplastics show the potential to play a remarkable role in the incorporation and trophic transfer of pollutants into marine food webs. The toxic effects of microplastics on marine organisms are unclear and need further investigation.
EPHEMARE – Ecotoxicological effects of microplastics in marine ecosystems – aims to address this need through a multidisciplinary consortium of 14 Partner Institutes from Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and microplastics experts from the UK. EPHEMARE is one of four approved projects following the 2014 JPI Oceans Pilot Call on ecological effects of microplastics.
EPHEMARE, targets (1) the uptake, tissue distribution, final fate, and effects of microplastics in organisms representative of pelagic and benthic ecosystems, and (2) the potential role of microplastics as vectors of model Persistent Pollutants that readily adsorb to their surfaces. The European consortium includes experts in biological effects of marine pollutants at molecular, cellular, physiological, and organismic levels, up-to-date singular facilities for aquatic toxicity testing under strict conditions, and some of the world-leading teams in microplastics research and incorporates capacity to communicate project findings to a range of audiences and stakeholders.