Heroimage Institut Fuer Umweltchemie Des Kuestenraumes

Current Research Activities

North Sea expedition KBC (Photo: Hereon/Christian Schmid)

North Sea expedition (Photo: Hereon/Christian Schmid)

The coastal abiotic marine environment can be regarded as the starting point for the accumulation and magnification of toxic chemicals in the marine food chain. This is especially the case for the long-living hydrophobic persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and their replacement chemicals. The latter are often considered as emerging contaminants. They may have similar substance properties as their banned predecessor and can be as problematic or even worse for marine ecosystems (“regrettable substitutes”).

In general, the availability of scientific data on emerging contaminants in the coastal, marine and polar environment is very limited, see World Ocean Assessment by the United Nations

Our current research activities focus on the investigation of the occurrence, sources, transport, fate and trends of classical and emerging persistent anthropogenic pollutants in the coastal marine and polar environment. Our analytical portfolio comprises more than 300 individual substances, including emerging contaminants such as Per- and Polyfluorinated Chemicals (PFASs), alternative Flame Retardants (aFRs), UV-Stabilizers, Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) as well as Current-Use Pesticides (CUPs).

EU-funded Projects

Innovative Training Network GMOS-TRAIN

Schematic picture by Johannes Bieser/Hereon

GMOS-TRAIN is a European training network, which includes fifteen doctoral candidates from ten institutions, that aims to improve our understanding of the global mercury cycle and to support the implementation of the Minamata Convention. In the course of the “Innovative Training Network” (ITN), fifteen ESRs (early stage researchers) at ten institutions will be trained in the fields of atmospheric and oceanic mercury analytics and modelling. Two of them will work at Hereon. In addition, six further network doctoral candidates will at times be guests at Hereon. Some aspects of GMOS-TRAIN include developing new measurement technologies, determining reaction rates, and modelling global transport and accumulation along the food chain.

Integrated Global Observing Systems for Persistent Pollutants (iGOSP)
Integrative and Comprehensive Understanding on Polar Environments (iCUPE)
EuroGEOSS Showcases – Applications Powered by Europe (e-shape)

BMBF-funded International Projects

Effects of ice stressors and pollutants on the Arctic marine cryosphere (EISPAC)
Twin projects MegaPol and FingBoYel

Ongoing and programmatic research

emerging POPs in Air and Snow of the Arctic (ePOP Arctic)
Mercury observations in the atmopshere (Mace Head, Ireland)
PFASs in coastal zones
Organophosphorus esters in the marine environment
UV-Stabilizers and UV-Filters in coastal zones

Completed Projects

POPs in Eels Project
Investigation of POPs in Alpine Snow
Global Mercury Observation System (GMOS)