EPHEMARE Project deals with the ecotoxicological effect of Microplastics (MPs) in marine ecosystems.

Lead Partner: University of Vigo

Project Duration: 36 Months

Total Project Cost: 3.154.000€

Plastics are nowadays ubiquitous in the environment, and their global production continues to rise. They are not biodegradable, but undergo weathering that renders their fragments more fragile, and combined to hydrodynamics produce increasingly small particles termed microplastics (MPs), within the micron to mm range, readily taken up by suspension and sediment feeders, and incorporated into the trophic webs. MPs can be toxic per se due to additives used by industry as colorants, plasticizers, flame retardants, etc. In addition, they concentrate hydrophobic chemicals (persistent pollutants (PPs) found in extremely low concentrations in seawater.

EPHEMARE, targets (1) the uptake, tissue distribution, final fate and effects of MPs in organisms representative of pelagic and benthic ecosystems, and (2) the potential role of MPs as vectors of model PPs that readily adsorb to their surfaces.

More information:

EPHEMARE Leaflet [pdf]





IMPACTA Project deals with the impact of micro-plastics, regulated and emerging contaminants in the marine ecosystem and with the establishment of environmental quality criteria.

Lead Partner: IEO

Project Duration: 2 years

Total Project Cost: 482.790€

The sea suffers a massive influx of synthetic substances as a result of human activity, especially in coastal areas. Just a small part of these substances is under surveillance (metals, organochlorine compounds, etc.), and it is essential to identify what other contaminants may be causing adverse effects on the ecosystem. Plastics are of particular concern due to their high persistence in the marine environment (450 years). Each year 6.4 million tons of garbage end up in the oceans (United Nations), 83% being plastics (ICC) which form over the time very small particles called micro-plastics which are incorporated into the food chain. Although plastic is inert many additives used for strength, or color (bisphenol A phthalates, cadmium ...) are toxic. Also micro-plastics can concentrate contaminants in the environment and act as transfer vectors into the food chain.

The IMPACTA project aims to make a first assessment of the occurrence, distribution and impact of micro-plastics and emerging pollutants in coastal sediments of the Iberian Peninsula.

More information:

Download Brochure: Enviromental Quality Criteria in Marine Water [pdf] (es)




Team Minho Project deals with the transfer tools for the assessment, management, and environmental education in estuaries.

Lead Partner: University of Vigo

Project Duration: 36 months

Total Project Cost: 1.032.460,32€

TEAM-Minho gathers scientists and water the hidraulic public administrations from both sides of Minho River in order to develop common tools for the coordinated implementation of the Water Framework Directive in its estuary. At the same time, the project aims to promote citizen participation in the management and conservation of aquatic ecosystems.

The essence of the proyect is summarized in the following two key ideas:

  1. Two sides a unique estuary. Minho River Minho needs cooperation between Spain and Portugal at all levels to achieve the common goal of conservation and sustainable use of the environment. Changes adversity biodiversity. The involvement of society in the conservation of aquatic ecosystems is essential. TEAM-Minho reminds society that our behavior towards the estuary is reflected in its condition
  2. Shift adversity by biodiversity. The involvement of society in the conservation of aquatic ecosystems is essential. TEAM-Minho reminds society that our behavior towards the estuary is reflected in its conservation conditions.

More information:


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