Extreme thermal events such as heat waves contribute to increase coastline recreational activities and are consequently expected to intensify the release of UV filters at sea by users of sunscreens (and other personal care products). UV filters are considered emerging contaminants of increasing concern for aquatic ecosystems, since these chemicals compounds are bioaccumulated and biomagnified through the food chain, are toxic at very low concentrations and are detected at high concentrations in marine and freshwater ecosystems. However, although the toxicity of these compounds has already been studied in freshwater ecosystems, few investigations concerns their impact in marine ecosystems.
Concomitantly to UV filters contamination, heatwaves also provoke drastic water temperature increase - called marine heatwaves - impacting coastal ecosystems. In addition to the fact that few studies took into account the impact of UV filters on marine ecosystems, no study investigated the effects of both stressors (UV filters contamination and water temperature increase) on marine organisms.
In this context, through a interdisciplinary approach, the project CUTE proposes: to demonstrate in situ the relation between heatwaves events, recreational coastal activities and UV filters use (Work Package1, WP1); to evaluate, via an experimental approach, the impact of UV filters contamination and warm water events on the bioenergetics and the behavior of marine organisms’ i.e. the mussel Mytilus sp. and the fish Liza aurata (WP2); to validate in semi-natural mesocosms the behavioral responses observed in WP2 and to explore their relevancy as in situ and early warning bioindicators for declining water quality (WP3). In parallel, environmental chemistry conducted in WP4 will permit (a) to evaluate the impact of recreational pressure and UV filters use on in situ water and organisms’ contaminations (in the framework of the WP1); (b) to correlate the biological effects observed with the levels of contamination (in the framework of WP2 and 3). Finally, a specific WP0 will be devoted to the coordination, communication in the consortium, exploitation of the outcomes and dissemination of the acquired knowledge.
In this interdisciplinary project, partners of the consortium are leaders in their research field (social geography, ecotoxicology, ecophysiology, environmental chemistry and behavior). By using an innovative and non-conventional approach, CUTE has the potential for unravelling unexplored areas of knowledge as it usually happens when relatively distant disciplines are combined in an integrative study. In addition to insure the implementation of the project, this network will enhance the dissemination of the knowledge and the exploitation of the results. Indeed, CUTE will disseminate knowledge (a) in the academic sphere thanks to congresses and publications; (b) in the non-academic public sector by bringing together in workshops managers of marine protected areas and partners of the project; (c) in the private sector by inviting to workshops managers and researchers of personal-care products industry; (d) in public events, presenting project and results.
Consequently, this project will impact different levels of the society. Indeed, in addition to an important advance in the state of the art in different disciplines, CUTE could raise awareness about the toxicological impact of UV filters in coastal areas. Moreover, the project could permit to develop more friendly-environmental personal care products. Finally, results will participate to set-up new types of bioindicators able to inform us in real-time about contamination of ecosystems.
In summary, this project, which fully integrated in the axis B11.6 “contaminants, ecosystems and health” of the ANR action plan, presents all the fruitfulness of an integrative study at the frontier of knowledge between human social science, chemistry and biology.
Madame Christel Lefrançois (Littoral, Environnement et Sociétés)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
EPOC Environnements et paléoenvironnements océaniques et continentaux
CEDRE CTRE DOC RECH EXPER POLLU ACCID EAU
LIENSs Littoral, Environnement et Sociétés
Help of the ANR 325,443 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2018 - 36 Months