Several Baltic species suffer from health problems which cannot be explained solely by the increase of known anthropogenic substances. Other ecological changes such as eutrophication can lead to an increased exposure of naturally-produced substances such as halogenated phenols. Halogenated phenols are naturally produced by algae and have been detected in high concentrations in the Baltic Sea wildlife. Halogenated phenols have also in exposure studies shown to be potent toxins by affecting the energy production of the cell negatively through disruption of the oxidative phosphorylation. Despite the high concentrations detected in wildlife of these potent toxins little is known about the actual in-vivo effects in the Baltic wildlife.
In this project halogenated phenols will be identified and measured by GC-MS together with health biomarkers in feral perch over time. Identified halogenated phenols will be studied in the laboratory for their effects on the energy metabolism using zebrafish embryos. The zebrafish embryos will be used for metabolomics and transcriptomic studies to detect a biomarker for exposure to halogenated phenols. The identified biomarker(s) will then be measured in feral perch together with various other parameters to identify effects caused by halogenated phenols. The results will help to better understand whether alterations in the energy metabolism caused by natural halogenated phenols could lead to the health problems observed in the Baltic fauna.