Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MODELKEY - The key to clean surface waters

28.02.2005


Analysing and evaluating chemical pollution – that is the goal of the new European large-scale project MODELKEY, starting in February. Under the management of the Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle, Germany (UFZ) researchers in 13 countries will be developing methods to identify so-called key chemicals and their effect on the water ecosystem until the year 2010. Three model rivers will be researched from their source to the mouth: River Elbe (Czech Republic/ Germany), River Schelde (Belgium/ The Netherlands), and River Llobregat (Spain). These three rivers are situated in different climate regions and all suffer from industrial pollution. The findings will later be passed on to all EU member states. The project, involving a total of 25 different research institutions, is subsidised with 8.4 million Euro by the EU. The name of the project, MODELKEY, stands for Models for Assessing and Forecasting the Impact of Environmental Key Pollutants on Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems and Biodiversity. The kick-off for MODELKEY will take place from 28th February to 5th March in Spain.

Background:

The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) has committed all states to see that their surface waters are in good chemical and ecological condition by the year 2015. The goal of the guidelines is to create common standards for surface and groundwater. In this way pollution should be stemmed and the condition of the ecosystem improved in order to protect the water resources in the long-term. The Water Framework Directive has divided the ecological water quality into five grades from bad to very good. By 2015 all surface waters should be of at least grade II (good status). In particular many ecosystems in industrialised regions of Europe have not reached the “good” status. Although the chemical parameters in Germany more or less fulfil the requirements, the Ministry of the Environment sees large deficits in the biological parameters. The job of the MODELKEY project is to find the causes of these problems and develop solutions for them.



Even though the EU has made a priority list of 30 chemicals which are monitored already, the scientists see a need for a much greater field of research. “When you think that there are thousands of different chemical combinations in the environment then it is clear: The current grid is just too wide,” explains Werner Brack from UFZ. “That is why we are trying to combine biological and chemical processes as well as different model techniques so that the spectrum on possible problems can be narrowed down step by step, and to finally identify every connection that really is responsible for harmful effects.” The complete ecosystem will be considered. Do changes to an individual organism affect the whole ecosystem? What does it mean for the ecosystem, when for example a particular fish stops reproducing? These are complex questions which have to be answered by 2010.

The preparation of the long-term project alone took two years. Partners had to be found and a structure had to be created. Michaela Hein and Mechthild Schmitt coordinate seven sub-projects and over 150 researchers under the lead of Werner Brack. “We have to develop new innovative techniques in all fields,” Brack paraphrases the coming project. “The challenge is to combine different scientific roots.”

The international research team does not just want to find these key pollutants and explain their effect. The huge volume of data from the surface water control programme from the EU member states are to be put to use. “At the moment the data are stored in different databases in various formats and are therefore extremely difficult to handle. That is why we want to create a central database – working closely with the ministries who today collect data and who will later have to implement the EU Water Framework Directive.” Finally a computer model is to be developed which will offer support to the water authorities in the whole EU when decisions must be made about which area should be decontaminated and how it can be done most effectively. One thing is clear: The EU Water Framework Directive means a lot of extra work for the individual member countries.

Tilo Arnhold

Doris Boehme | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=5366

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Waste in the water – New purification techniques for healthier aquatic ecosystems
24.07.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht Plenty of habitat for bears in Europe
24.07.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>