Ecotoxicology Lab

This section, which addresses the accumulation of heavy metals (Atomic Absorption spectrophotometry/AAS Unit) and the effects of pollution on marine organisms (Biomarker Unit), includes the following subjects:

  • Determination of heavy metals in different categories of marine organisms (fish, crustaceans, molluscs, zooplankton, marine macrophytes and angiosperms –Atomic Absorption spectrophotometry/AAS Unit).
  • Studies on the effect of ocean acidification on the bioavailability of minerals and the physiological state of marine organisms.
  • Development and application of biomarkers and bioassays to assess the effects of pollution on marine organisms (Biomarker Unit): physiological measurements and indices, biochemical biomarkers of neurotoxicity (acetylcholinesterase), specific metal exposure (metallothioneins), oxidative stress (antioxidant enzymes, lipid peroxidation), biotransformation (glutathione S transferase), toxicity tests, and the development of additional biochemical methods for detecting exposure to pollutants such as petroleum products, metals and emerging pollutants.
  • Biochemical indices of zooplankton growth and respiration
  • Marine litter impacts on marine organisms: litter ingestion by sea turtles, development and application of methods for detecting ingestion of microplastics and their effects on fish and invertebrates, microplastics as vectors of pollutants to marine organisms
  • Use of pollution levels and effects measurements in marine organisms for monitoring and assessment of Descriptor 8 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive
  • Determination of critical values of “background” biomarker and contaminant levels for the Greek waters (AAS and Biomarker Units)
  • Study of the interactions of multiple anthropogenic and natural pressures (e.g. pollution, eutrophication, climate change) and their impact on marine organisms as tools for assessing the quality of the marine environment


Specialized scientific instruments and equipment for the determination of heavy metals in different categories of marine organisms (fish, crustaceans, molluscs, zooplankton, marine macrophytes and angiosperms)/ AAS Unit:

LABCORNO/FreeZone 6 Liter Benchtop Freeze Dry System to freeze drying biological samples

FRITSCH/ Planetary Mono Mill Pulverisette 6 classic line equipped with a 500ml grinding bowl from agate with steel casing and grinding balls from the same material to mechanically homogenize dry biological samples (soft tissue and/or shells)

MILESTONE/ ETHOS EZ Microwave Digestion Labstation equipped with SK-10T high pressure segmented rotor for the acid closed vessel microwave digestion of biological sample

Shimadzu/ AA-7000 Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer for flame and graphite furnace (GFA-7000A) AAS equipped with an ACS-7000 auto-sampler for the measurement of metal concentrations in biological samples after (freeze drying, homogenization and) acid digestion.

SurveyIRVSTM FT-IR Microanalysis Accessory: For FT-IR microscope analysis of wide range of sample sizes and shapes. With digital camera and eSPOT software for image capture, storage, and documentation. Used for polymer analyses of ingested micro- plastics.

Z1 Coulter Counter: Particle counter designed to count and size particles within the range 1μm to 120μm. Used for counting phytoplankton cells, mainly for mussel clearance rate measurements, and for counting microplastics.

Flow through clearance rate measuring system with 18 experimental chambers for mussels used in Scope for Growth measurements.

Peristaltic pump: Pumps liquids at a constant flow rate. Mainly used with the clearance rate measuring system for pumping seawater.

Oxygen meter (Strathkelvin Model 781): Oxygen meter equipped with oxygen measurement microcell for dissolved O2 measurement in small samples. Used for monitoring change in oxygen concentration in respirometers containing mussels for respiration rate measurements.

Respirometers (i.e., modified Quickfit chambers): 750 ml plastic chambers for respiration rate measurements in mussels.

Motor-driven Potter-Elvehjem teflon homogenizers: Used for processing tissue samples for biochemical biomarker analyses.

SynergyTM HTX Multi-Mode Microplate Reader (Absorbance, Fluoresce): Temperature controlled microplate reader that automates absorbance and fluorescence measurements. Equipped with Gen5TM Data Analysis Software for data collection, analysis, exporting and reporting. Used for biochemical biomarker analyses.

CometAssay® Electrophoresis System (single cell gel electrophoresis) for 96 well slides, maintaining constant buffer temperature with cooling pack chamber and one-piece molded plastic body. Used for application of the Comet assay for quantifying DNA damage.

pH Meter Inolab: Laboratory pH Meter used for biochemical analyses

Heating bath B 490: Heating bath that can be adjusted from 20° to 180°C with temperature accuracy of +1oC, used for boiling samples.

Various small lab equipment