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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

ECOLOGICAL RISK ASSESSMENT OF RECEPTOR ORGANISMS INHABITING ANTHROPOGENICALLY INFLUENCED GRASSLANDS AND FOREST HABITATS

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.03.03  Natural sciences and mathematics  Biology  Ecosystems 

Code Science Field
P000  Natural sciences and mathematics   

Code Science Field
1.06  Natural Sciences  Biological sciences 
Keywords
risk assessment, environmental pollution, receptor organisms, small mammals, passerine birds, heavy metals, persitence organic pollutants
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (13)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  12031  PhD Samar Al Sayegh Petkovšek  Control and care of the environment  Head  2011 - 2014  343 
2.  24375  PhD Elena Bužan  Biology  Researcher  2014  364 
3.  19901  Andrej Glinšek  Chemistry  Researcher  2011 - 2014  183 
4.  29582  PhD Ida Jelenko Turinek  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2011 - 2014  166 
5.  28499  PhD Jure Jugovic  Biology  Researcher  2014  129 
6.  16046  PhD Nataša Kopušar  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  172 
7.  09211  PhD Boris Kryštufek  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2013  982 
8.  27528  PhD Martina Lužnik  Biology  Researcher  2014  78 
9.  19899  MSc Klara Orešnik  Chemistry  Researcher  2011 - 2014  156 
10.  18112  PhD Boštjan Pokorny  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  886 
11.  23000  PhD Helena Poličnik  Interdisciplinary research  Researcher  2011 - 2012  217 
12.  10796  PhD Davorin Tome  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  691 
13.  23168  Marjeta Zaluberšek    Technical associate  2011 - 2014  98 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0105  National Institute of Biology  Ljubljana  5055784  13,335 
2.  1007  Eurofins ERICo Slovenija Inštitut za ekološke raziskave d.o.o. (Slovene)  Velenje  5583055000  2,451 
3.  1510  Science and Research Centre Koper  Koper  7187416000  13,745 
Abstract
Ecological risk assessment of selected receptor organisms (small mammals from genus Sorex, Crocidura, Microtus, Chionomyces, Apodemus and Talpa europea; passerine birds: Parus major, Parus caeruleus) inhabiting an anthropogenic changed grasslands and forest habitats, which are loaded with inorganic and organic pollutants will be performed in the proposed research project. Exposure of food chains to metals, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), will be assessed by analyzing dietary concentration and internal concentrations of receptor organisms. Metals and POPs are ranged among the most hazardous substances, regarding their toxicity, persistence in the environment and accumulation through food chain, therefore, present a serious problem at local, regional and even global scale, and permanent monitoring of their concentrations should be established in all parts of biocenosis; furthermore, determination of hazardous pollutants in the environment meet the goals of Slovenian Environmental Protection Act regarding decrease of environmental pollution, protection and improvement of environmental quality, and sustainable exploitation of natural resources, as well. Soil in Slovenia is not heavily polluted; however, the concentrations of pollutants are increased at some areas. Determined values of metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), atrazine and simazine exceeded the limit values according to the Slovene legislation at some locations. In spite of large reduction (decrease) of emissions from point-sources, the toxic substances (metals and POPs) are still retaining in the soil. Since major sources of metals and POPs in the environment are production of energy, traffic and agriculture, we selected research areas in the vicinity of largest Slovenian thermal power plant and abounded smelter, at Dravsko-Ptujsko polje, where intensive agriculture is performed and along the road with high traffic density. With the use of receptor organisms, which inhabiting anthropogenically influenced foraging ranges, we will analyze transfer of pollutants through food chain from soil to plants/earthworms/snails to small mammals/passerine birds. We hypothesized that pollutants will pass through food chain and bioccumulate in receptor organisms, inhabiting polluted areas, since contaminated food is the major uptake route of pollutant in small mammals and passerine birds.   The proposed research project represents new research approach in Slovenia, where the basic knowledge regarding presence of the pollutants in the environment will be supplemented with the ecological risk assessment due to the transfer of pollutants through food chains. Providing data regarding risk assessment for selected receptors organism will be base for detecting risk assessment for human and for reducing negative impact on human health in according with several strategic documents in Slovenia and Europe. The specific objectives of the proposed research project are: (i) to determine the concentrations of pollutants in soil, diet and internal organs of small mammals; moreover, metals will be determined in feathers of passerine birds; (ii) to compare measured concentrations of pollutants with concentrations reported in the literature and limit values, according to Slovene legislation; (iii) to compare the concentrations in soil, plant and animal tissues with the aim to assess the bioaccessibility of different pollutants; (iv) to make risk assessment for small mammals and passerine birds food chains in research areas; (v) to define the most critical pollutants and the food chain most at risk; (vi) to propose model approach for risk assessment for receptor organisms collected near sites, contaminated by smelters, metal processing facilities, mining-ware and refuse dumping site, contaminated floodplain wetland, etc.; (vii) to prepare expertise for reducing pollution and for sustainable development by decreasing ecotoxicological risk or organisms (including human).
Significance for science
Foreign knowledge and methods related to the topic of the proposed research project were implemented through this research project in the Slovene scientific field. The proposed research project represents (according to the content and methods) new research approach; moreover, this issue has not been well examined in Slovenia, so far. Despite the recognition of the significance of small mammals and passerine birds as well-proved boindicators elsewhere, their potential has not been yet exploited in Slovenia, with the exception of risk assessment of lead contamination for small mammal food chain (a case study for shooting ranges), which was performed by this project team. At the same time the project is important due to development of appropriate bioindicative method, which reflected the exposure of POPs and metals in the environment. New basic information regarding environment pollution of study areas, including the determination which pollutant contributes most to the total risk for receptors organisms as well as new knowledge regarding a carnivorous and a herbivorous terrestrial small mammal and passerine birds food chains exposed to pollution were provided. Research project is at the same time involving into implementation of environmental policy of the largest Slovenian thermal power plant (ŠTPP), which is co-funding organization of the proposed project. The model approach will be designed to perform risk assessment of pollutants in terrestrial ecosystems regarding different type and extent of pollution (e.g., in the vicinity of landfills, at industrial areas, which are heavily polluted (Celje and Jesenice basin), and at agriculture land, where pesticides were used decades).
Significance for the country
By fulfilling the results of the proposed research project we contributed to the performing of environmental policy of co-funding organization, which is the largest thermal power plant in Slovenia (ŠTPP) and has to meet commitments due to pollution prevention and control. Provided results will make possible to assess the remediation measures performed on the ŠTPP in the past as well as make contribution to design and implementation of new ones. Furthermore, implementation of environmental policy can be done at local and national scale especially in communities, where are situated other research areas (e.g., Upper Meža Valley). Provided results can be base (groundwork) for action plans, designed for local communities, where environment is loaded with pollutants (e.g., contribution to remediation of the Upper Meža Valley). In addition, the research project meets the aims of several strategic documents in Slovenia and Europe regarding reduction of pollution and sustainable development (e.g., Environmental Protection Act (Official gazette of RS, no. 39/2006), Resolution concerning national research and development programme (Official gazette of RS, no. 2/2006), Council directive 96/61 EC of 24. September concerning Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Official Journal L 257; Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (Official gazette of RS, no. 32/2004)). Since the general objective of the proposed research project is reduction of pollution, the provided results can contribute to conservation of ecosystems, biodiversity and natural heritage. Moreover, the results can improve prosperity of citizens and decrease the environmental risk.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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