COntaminants in the food chain System: phytoplankton, zooplankton, anchovies, sardines

Projet en cours

Project affiliated to:
Project leader Ifremer
Research partners IRD, CEREGE, COM LOPB
Budget 3 419 K€
Cofinanceur publics ANR
Year of labeling 2009
Year of co-financing 2009

The main scientific objective of the COSTAS project is to provide useful knowledge to the understanding of conditions that favour the accumulation and transfer of organic and metal contaminants at the primary food chain levels (autotrophic and heterotrophic) and then within the groups of small pelagic fish (anchovies, sardines) in the Golfe du Lion. The scientific problems of this project are therefore contending with a background of general degradation of ecosystems, with political will for sustainable resource management at regional, European and global levels and a need for improved knowledge to provide a scientific basis to this management.

The study will focus on the contamination of marine ecosystems by three groups of compounds and chemical elements: the persistent organic pollutants (polychlorinated biphenyls -PCB and polybrominated diphenyl ethers -PBDEs), mercury (Hg) and methyl mercury (CH3Hg) and other metals (Pb, Cd, Cu, Ag, Zn ...) and isotopic tracers.

In the full scheme of biogeochemical cycles of contaminants in marine ecosystems, the assimilation of anthropogenic compounds and elements in the primary trophic layer of plankton is still poorly understood. However, plankton populations play a pivotal role in the marine ecosystem by directing organic matter to higher food chain levels.

It will therefore examine a complete trophic pyramid of water/phytoplankton/zooplankton and small pelagic fish in order to identify and delimit the transfer of contaminants and elements studied in this network. Small pelagic fish represent an important resource exploited in the Golfe du Lion and a key link in the food chain between plankton and fish-eating species which themselves are exploited. Their contamination is therefore a vector for the transfer of contaminants to open waters and especially toward top predators.