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Environmental toxicology

The protection of organisms from the toxic effects of chemicals and other stressors is an important objective of marine and freshwater environmental monitoring, and is part of the European Marine Strategy and the Water Framework Directive. IfAÖ’s Department of Environmental Toxicology has worked in this field for many years.

One focus is data acquisition of pollutant effects with diagnostic tools such as biomarkers to assess the health status of selected indicator organisms. The department performs a histological examination of organisms as a specific integrative review method. In addition to these environmental toxicological studies, the experts also develop monitoring plans and provide expert reports to authorities and private clients. The latter use IfAÖ data from monitoring of pollution of fish and invertebrates, such as mussels, to comply with the requirements for trend monitoring as set by Germany’s Surface Water Ordinance.

Aquatic Environmental Toxicology

  • Identification of environmental and chemical stress on bio-indicators in marine and freshwater habitats
  • Detection of harmful effects with diagnostic tools (biomarkers)
  • Chemical-analytical pollutant monitoring of sediment and biota
  • Studies on the health status of fish and invertebrate aquatic organisms

Expert opinions and specialist assessments

  • Expert opinion on the environmental impact of chemical substances
  • Concept development for pollutant and bio-effect monitoring

Environmental Toxicology Laboratory


The environmental toxicology team is currently involved in the EU project entitled NonHazCity (providing project management). The project’s objective is to assist cities and municipalities with identifying methods to reduce priority pollutants emissions by, for example, small businesses and households, into the municipal sewer system and ultimately to the receiving water course. The project is funded with EUR 3 million from the European Union and runs for three years (2016-2018).