Macroinvertebrates as Biomonitors in Freshwater Systems

Student: Irene O'Callaghan
Supervisors: Tim Sullivan & Dara Fitzpatrick

Engineered nanoparticles offer many novel properties, and are advantageous in many ways, compared with bulk materials, so the use of nanoparticles is expected to increase. Unfortunately, this will also result in increasing concentrations of nanoparticles entering the environment. It is vital, therefore, that we gain a better understanding of the behaviour and dangers of nanoparticles, and improve our methods of detecting them in the environment.

This inter-disciplinary project combines Environmental Science and Chemistry in order to study the uptake, storage and toxicity of nanoparticles in benthic macroinvertebrates. Some species of macroinvertebrate are known to bioaccumulate trace metals, where the organism traps pollutants present in the environment. This work will will improve understanding of the eventual fate of nanoparticles in the environment.

This research is made possible thanks to the support of the Irish Research Council and the Environemental Protection Agency (Ireland) under Grant No. GOIPG/2018/3351.

The following works have been disseminated as part of this project:

Year Citation
2022 O'Callaghan, I., Fitzpatrick, D. and T. Sullivan. "Improving freshwater contaminant quantification by drawing upon intrinsic bioaccumulative properties." Environ 2022, Belfast, United Kingdom (2022).  
O'Callaghan, I., Fitzpatrick, D. and T. Sullivan. "Intrinsic properties of metallic contaminants govern bioaccumulation behaviour." SETAC Europe 32nd Annual Meeting, Copenhagen, Denmark (2022). 
O'Callaghan, I.; Fitzpatrick, D., and T. Sullivan. "A metric for the relative accumulation of metals in benthic fauna." IFSA Annual Scientific Meeting, Dublin, Ireland (2022). 
O'Callaghan, I.; Fitzpatrick, D., and T. Sullivan. "Thiophilicity is a determinant of bioaccumulation in benthic fauna." Environmental Pollution 294 (2022). [DOI]
2021 O'Callaghan, I., and T. Sullivan. "Uncharted waters: UV filters in the freshwater environment." ENVIRON 2021, Online (2021). 
O'Callaghan, I., and T. Sullivan. "Destroyed, not defeated: Ireland's legacy of aquatic pollution." IFSA Annual Scientific Meeting, Online (2021)

O'Callaghan, I., and T. Sullivan. "Modelling the effect of moulting on metallic pollutant accumulation in freshwater macroinvertebrates." ENVIRON 2020, Online (2020).
O'Callaghan, I., and T. Sullivan. "Shedding the load: moulting as a cause of variability in whole-body metal concentrations." Journal of Crustacean Biology 40 (2020): 725-733. [DOI]
O'Callaghan, I., and T. Sullivan. "Trace metal bioaccumulation in freshwater macroinvertebrates: a comparative approach of lab and field studies." SETAC Europe 30th Annual Meeting, Online (2020).

O'Callaghan, I.; Harrison, S. S. C.; Fitzpatrick, D. and T. Sullivan. "The freshwater isopod Asellus aquaticus as a model biomonitor of environmental pollution: A review" Chemosphere 235 (2019): 498-509. [DOI]
O'Callaghan, I., and T. Sullivan. "On the micro-structural features of a pollution-tolerant freshwater isopod, Asellus aquaticus." ESA Annual Meeting, Louisville, KY (2019).
O'Callaghan, I., and T. Sullivan. "The effects of surfactants on the microbial biofilm associated with the benthic isopod Asellus aquaticus." 17th International Conference on Chemistry and the Environment, Thessaloniki (2019).
O'Callaghan, I.; Harrison, S. S. C.; Fitzpatrick, D. and T. Sullivan. "The benthic isopod Asellus aquaticus as a model biomonitor for metallic nanoparticle pollution in freshwater systems." SETAC Europe 29th Annual Meeting, Helsinki (2019).
O'Callaghan, I., and T. Sullivan. "Asellus aquaticus as a potential biomonitor of trace metal pollution in freshwaters." ENVIRON 2019, Carlow (2019).

Materials & Environmental Science Applications

Grúpa Taighde d'Ábhair & Feidhmeanna Eolaíocht Chomhshaoil

School of BEES, University College Cork, Cork Enterprise Centre, Distillery Fields, North Mall, Cork, T23 TK30

Funding Sources