Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 252-256

MODELKEY. Models for assessing and forecasting the impact of environmental key pollutants on freshwater and marine ecosystems and biodiversity (5 pp)

  • Werner BrackAffiliated withDr. Werner Brack Department of Chemical Ecotoxicology UFZ - Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig Permoserstrasse 15 D-04318 Leipzig Email author 

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Werner Brack1*, Joop Bakker2, Eric de Deckere3, Charlotte Deerenberg4, Jos van Gils5, Michaela Hein1, Pavel Jurajda6, Bas Kooijman7, Marja Lamoree7, Sovan Lek8, Maria Jose López de Alda9, Antonio Marcomini10, Isabel Muñoz11, Silke Rattei1, Helmut Segner12, Kevin Thomas13, Peter Carsten von der Ohe1, Bernhard Westrich14, Dick de Zwart15, Mechthild Schmitt-Jansen1


1 UFZ Centre for Environmental Research, Permoserstraße 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany 2 National Institute for Coastal and Marine Management / RIKZ, Kortenaerkade 1, 2500 EX 's-Gravenhage, The Netherlands 3 University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium 4 Netherlands Institute for Fishery Research (RIVO), Wageningen UR, POB 68, 1970 AB, IJmuiden, The Netherlands 5 DELFT Hydraulics, Rotterdamseweg 185, 2600MH Delft, The Netherlands 6 Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 60365 Brno, Czech Republic 7 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1087, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands 8 Centre National de Recherche Scientifique – Midi Pyrenees, 14-16 Avenue Edouard Belin, 31055 Toulouse, France 9 Chemical and Environmental Research Institute of Barcelona, Jordi Girona, 18-26, 08034 Barcelona, Spain 10 Consorzio Venezia Ricerche, Via della Libertà 5/12, Marghera, 30175 Venezia, Italy 11 University of Barcelona, Av. Diagonal, 645, 08028 Barcelona 12 University of Berne, Laenggass-Straße 122, 3012 Berne, Switzerland 13 Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Brekkeveien 19, POB 173, Kjelsaas, 0411 Oslo, Norway 14 University of Stuttgart, Pfaffenwaldring 61, 70550 Stuttgart, Germany 15 Laboratory for Ecological Risk Assessment, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, A. van Leeuwenhoeklaan 9, 3720 HA Bilthoven, The Netherlands


Triggered by the requirement of Water Framework Directive for a good ecological status for European river systems till 2015 and by still existing lacks in tools for cause identification of insufficient ecological status MODELKEY (, an Integrated Project with 26 partners from 14 European countries, was started in 2005. MODELKEY is the acronym for 'Models for assessing and forecasting the impact of environmental key pollutants on freshwater and marine ecosystems and biodiversity'. The project is funded by the European Commission within the Sixth Framework Programme.


MODELKEY comprises a multidisciplinary approach aiming at developing interlinked tools for an enhanced understanding of cause-effect-relationships between insufficient ecological status and environmental pollution as causative factor and for the assessment and forecasting of the risks of key pollutants on fresh water and marine ecosystems at a river basin and adjacent marine environment scale. New modelling tools for risk assessment including generic exposure assessment models, mechanistic models of toxic effects in simplified food chains, integrated diagnostic effect models based on community patterns, predictive component effect models applying artificial neural networks and GIS-based analysis of integrated risk indexes will be developed and linked to a user-friendly decision support system for the prioritisation of risks, contamination sources and contaminated sites.


Approach. Modelling will be closely interlinked with extensive laboratory and field investigations. Early warning strategies on the basis of sub-lethal effects in vitro and in vivo are provided and combined with fractionation and analytical tools for effect-directed analysis of key toxicants. Integrated assessment of exposure and effects on biofilms, invertebrate and fish communities linking chemical analysis in water, sediment and biota with in vitro, in vivo and community level effect analysis is designed to provide data and conceptual understanding for risk arising from key toxicants in aquatic ecosystems and will be used for verification of various modelling approaches.


and Perspective. The developed tools will be verified in case studies representing European key areas including Mediterranean, Western and Central European river basins. An end-user-directed decision support system will be provided for cost-effective tool selection and appropriate risk and site prioritisation.

fish communities exposure models EU-Projects effect-directed analysis effect models decision support system biomarkers biofilms bioavailability artificial neural networks in vitro tests invertebrate communities MODELKEY