Using ecophysiology to better predict the uptake of chemicals into fish

Lead Research Organisation: UNIVERSITY OF EXETER
Department Name: Biosciences


Freshwater chemistry varies greatly, e.g. H+ and calcium by >1,000-fold depending on location, which majorly influence chemical speciation and properties of gills and skin that affect chemical uptake. This mechanistic project will fill this knowledge gap to allow ecological risk assessment to be tailored to match regional conditions. Our multidisciplinary supervisory team provides world-class expertise in physiology, ecotoxicology, and analytical chemistry to support the student in this truly novel project.

The transepithelial electrical potential (TEP) across aquatic animal gills/skin influences uptake of charged molecules, but is dramatically influenced (e.g. from -35 to +10 mV) by natural variability in freshwater chemistry (e.g. pH, Ca, salinity, DOC). How TEP affects chemical uptake represents a major knowledge gap in ecotoxicology and may explain large inconsistencies in their uptake between individual fish and different studies.

The student will develop expertise in in vivo and in vitro physiology experimentation with fish and cell cultures, including measuring transepithelial electrical potential (TEP) across gills and chemical uptake in a range of species. We will provide training in skills relevant to analytical chemistry and understanding chemical speciation, and statistical and modelling methods.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/V013041/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2027
2695320 Studentship NE/V013041/1 30/09/2022 30/07/2026