Icebergs in the Kongsfjorden (Svalbard Island) © Luisa Patrolecco CNR-ISP The research activities carried out within the Thematic Area Contaminants and Ecosystems are aimed at studying the sources, transport dynamics, diffusion and fate of regulated and emerging contaminants, including micro/nano-plastics and trace elements, in polar ecosystems. These ecosystems are particularly sensitive to external perturbations, such as human activities and climate change. In fact, the Polar regions constitute the final sink for many pollutants emitted at mid-latitudes and transported on a regional and global scale (long-range) through atmospheric and oceanic circulation and migratory animals: all drivers influenced by the ongoing climate change. Global warming has also favored a growing anthropic impact in the polar areas due to the development of tourist activities, mining and maritime traffic with a consequent increase in the local input of contamination, including noise pollution. The direct and indirect effects of these changes combined with the different dynamics of contamination are causing the fragmentation and destruction of habitats, the alteration of aquatic and terrestrial food webs, as well as loss of diversity with repercussions also on Arctic populations.
Valley at the base of the Austre-Vestre Brøggerbreen glaciers © Francesca Spataro CNR-ISP In this context, the multidisciplinary skills that converge in this Thematic Area constitutes an indispensable requirement for understanding the effects due to anthropic impact and climate change in polar ecosystems by following a One Health approach and aiming at a sustainable management of these vulnerable environments in the near future.

The main lines of investigation refer to the following areas: development and optimization of highly sensitive analytical methods for the detection of pollutants in the abiotic and biotic environmental compartments, understanding of transport and distribution processes in ecosystems, evaluation of the interactions with biota and the ecological effects, study of the capability of ecosystems to adapt and respond to contamination.



Main ERC panels:
• LS8 - Environmental Biology, Ecology and Evolution
• PE4 - Physical and Analytical Chemical Sciences
• PE10 - Earth System Science
Referents: Elena Barbaro, Maria Papale, Luisa Patrolecco, Francesca Spataro
Contact: info-impacts AT 


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