BISPECIAI – BIvalves under Polluted Environment and ClImate chAnge

BISPECIAl is an integrated research plan that aims to provide understanding on how marine bivalves, in particular two clam species (Ruditapes decussatus, R. philippinarum), are affected by changes in key environmental drivers, namely alterations related to the exposure to pollutants of emergent concern (pharmaceuticals and nanomaterials) and climate change (salinity and temperature shifts, seawater acidification). The relevance of the problem: In marine systems, organisms are exposed to a combination of different stressors which create a range of associated environmental and ecotoxicological risks. Several stressors have been identified as key and/or emerging drivers of environmental change that may significantly influence marine near-shore systems. These include the magnitude and duration of exposure to chemical pollutants and alterations in the range and variability of physical and chemical conditions related to climate change. However, the toxicity resulting from the mixture of pollutants has received little attention up to date, especially under predicted climate change scenarios. Since environmental stressors often do not act alone, BISPECIAL will identify early warning signals of environmental change and measure the impact when clams are exposed to a combination of multiple stressors. The two species selected for this study are taxa with a high socio-economic value and play a significant ecological role in marine systems. In Portugal, the annual production of clams represents 42% of the total shellfish production, thus contributing significantly to the national economy. The new ideas that will enable the team to reach their goal: BISPECIAl will use a suite of ecotoxicological tools that will collectively provide a more comprehensive understanding of how multiple environmental stressors affect bivalvesmeasuring over time the alterations induced at transcriptomic, metabolomics, biochemical and physiological levels. Such an integrated approach will provide the basis for a new eco-toxicological analytical framework that can be used as an early-warning system to detect and measure the role of complex interactions of multiple environmental stressors and pollutants of emergent concern, under actual and future climatic scenarios. The results expected: BISPECIAl will generate fundamental knowledge for the establishment of appropriate regulatory guidelines and practices that ensure the preservation and sustainability of biological resources, allowing for prediction and mitigation of the impacts from these stressors. In a close relationship with the main stakeholders (citizen-science) the results from this project will make a significant contribution to related environmental risk assessments and national and European environmental management strategies, forcing decision/policy-makers to generate science based procedures to preserve the environment and inhabiting resources.

Clam; Ruditapes decussatus; Ruditapes philippinarum; Climatic changes; Bivalves; Native and invasive species

University of Aveiro (Coord.)

MARE-Polytechnic of Leiria: Sérgio Leandro –

40.562,5 € (MARE-Polytechnic of Leiria)| FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia; FEDER – Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional // Duration 2019-2022

Project Card