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Programme: JPI-OCEANS

Project title: Ecotoxicological effects of microplastics in marine ecosystems


Duration: January 2016 – December 2018

Total budget: EUR 3.154.000

ISMAR budget: EUR 79.379

Web site:


EPHEMARE aims to examine the adsorption of chemicals on microplastics, their ingestion, trophic transfer and chemical release, and a wide array of ecotoxicological effects on invertebrates and vertebrates and to communicate the findings of the project to the public, relevant national and international authorities and decision makers. The project is looking for active collaboration with Industry to facilitate mutual learning towards addressing issues associated with microplastics in our oceans and has the following objectives:

To investigate the uptake, tissue distribution and final fate of microplastics in organisms representative of pelagic and benthic ecosystems

To investigate the potential role of microplastics as vectors of marine pollutants and their trophic transfer in marine food webs.

To assess by means of internationally accepted standards and methods (ISO, OECD, ICES, ASTM) whether microplastic accumulation leads to detrimental effects at molecular, cellular, physiological and organism levels.

To test the suitability of exposure and effect biochemical, cellular and physiological biomarkers and cutting-edge omics methods to trace MP exposure.

To assist public and private stakeholders with the scientific basis for the development and compliance with general environmental regulations concerning chemicals used in plastic production (WFD, MSFD, environmental quality standards, REACH, Directive 2002/72/ECEU and subsequent amendments, Regulation No 10/2011).

To raise public awareness on the risks that the less visible plastics pose to marine ecosystems and, eventually, human health.

Contact person in Ismar:


  1. Universidade de Vigo (Spain)
  2. Instituto Español de Oceanografía (Spain)
  3. Universidad de Murcia (Spain)
  4. Université de Bordeaux (France)
  5. Universität Heidelberg (Germany)
  6. Universiteit Antwerpen (Nederlands)
  7. Università Politecnica delle Marche (Italy)
  8. Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italy)
  9. Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental  (Italy)
  10. Universidade do Algarve - University of Algarve (Portugal)
  11. Örebro Universitet (Sweden)
  12. Universitetet i Oslo (Norway)
  13. University College Cork  (Ireland)
  14. French Institute of Research for the Exploitation of the Sea (France)
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