Impacts of sunscreen ingredients on the lugworm Arenicola Marina

DAAD RISE Germany Program

Humans have impacts on marine environments all over the world. Apart from interventions like construction and fishing activity, introduction of different pollutants is a large problem. In recent years, pollution with personal care products (PCP) has come into the focus of the scientific and societal concern. The latest studies have shown an increase in concentration of these products in the marine environment.

As sunscreens enter the aquatic environment in large quantities, concerns and reevaluations are rising about their potential toxicity to marine organisms. Nano-zinc-oxide (nZnO) and Avobenzone are two substances commonly used as UV-filters in sunscreens. Even though recent studies have demonstrated impacts of different UV-filters and nanoparticles on marine invertebrates, knowledge about combined effects is scarce

The sediment dwelling polychaete Arenicola marina is an organism native in several areas worldwide and a valuable member of the ecosystem not least by reworking of the sediment.

As its habitat is often impaired by human activities, it is a sink for pollutants and A. marina is especially exposed to potential risks.

In cooperation with the DAAD RISE Germany program, we will emulate environmental concentrations for nZnO and Avobenzone from highly exposed areas and determine the reaction of different biochemical stress markers in the polychaete exposed to the pollutants. This study will deliver important insights to the emerging PCP-research and might help to reevaluate the usage of different substances.