GLOBALED: Impacts of global change on environmentally realistic mixtures of endocrine disruptor compounds on the structure and functioning of coastal ecosystems. Implications for a sustainable environment
Emergence of climate change and endocrine disruptor chemicals (EDCs) as crucial societal challenges became priority topics for EU. Still, there is a flagrant knowledge gap in relating those 2 kinds of priority concerns. Besides climate change, over the last two decades, large concern has been given to the environmental health risks posed by EDCs that possibly upset animal hormonal systems. Among most potent EDCs are steroid hormones and progestins (emergent steroids with progestogenic activity), contrarily to estrogens have received only little attention. Lack of environmental measurements and evidence of impairment of female reproduction at very low concentrations makes progestins the most important pharmaceutical group of concern after ethynylestradiol. Regardless of the few existent literature on progestins little attention has been paid to environmental and ultimately human health effects of environmentally realistic EDCs mixtures (e.g. progestins and metals) and risks they pose to aquatic organisms are largely unknown. From several metals, mercury (Hg) is still one of the most hazardous and considered as a high-priority pollutant, whose endocrine effects are not well emphasized to date. Hg has specific endocrine effects within all 3 hypothalamic–pituitary axes (i.e. gonad, thyroid, adrenal/adrenal homolog) while progestins are known to modulate gonadal axis. So, there’s good evidence that progestins and Hg, which act at interconnecting endocrine axes can work together to produce combined effects. These contaminants associated to climate drivers (e.g. temperature and pCO2) may produce a stronger and unpredictable effect on the aquatic habitat, since the latter can also interfere on regulation of HPG axis of vertebrates and invertebrates, impairing the reproductive system. So, the main goal of this project is to assess effects of multiple climate drivers on combined mixtures of EDCs at different trophic levels and distinct biological organization levels of coastal food web through a long-term approach.