Coastal Transition Zones under Natural and Human Pressures

Synthesis Tools

Anthropogenic plastic litter floating on ocean surface (Photo: Naja Bertolt Jensen, Unsplash)

"Addressing challenges of societal concern is needed to respond to global environmental change."

Our Synthesis Tools address challenges of global environmental change as well as of societal concern. They are information-rich products based on consolidated data of different types and origin and provide scientists and interested users with expert knowledge.

Microplastic Compendium (MPC)

Logo MPC

The Microplastic Compendium (MPC) amalgamates the current state of existing knowledge with regard to in-depth analysis of microplastics in the marine environment. Experts from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), the Alfred-Wegener-Institute (AWI) and the University of Plymouth have contributed with content and special articles.

A compendium with information-rich information like this is created to address grand challenges to tackle global environmental changes, such as the pollution of the marine environment with microplastics.

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Arctic Mercury Cycling (Nature Reviews Earth & Environment)


Climate Change affecting mercury cycling (Source: Mercury Assessment. AMAP 2021)

Mercury (Hg) is a pollutant of global concern that poses a threat to ecosystems and human health. Emitted by anthropogenic sources, such as coal combustion and silver or gold mining, the global Hg burden in atmosphere and ocean has increased three to five fold compared to pre-industrial times. Because Hg is liqud or gaseous under natural conditions, it is transported globally through atmospheric circulation.

Over the last centuries, a large fraction of the emitted Hg has been transported to the Arctic where it accumualted in sediments, permafrost, and ice. Due to climate change, the Arctic is being impacted by regional warming with uncertain ecological consequnces. In a review published in Nature Reviews Earth and Environment, we present a comprehensive assessment of the present-day total Hg mass balance in Arctic.

Dastoor, A., Angot, H., Bieser, J. et al. (2022): Arctic mercury cycling. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment (2022), doi: 10.1038/s43017-022-00269-w

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Organophosphate esters in the marine environment (Nature Reviews Earth & Environment)

Xie Hereon Arctic Research Base

Arctic Research Base Ny-Alesund (Photo: Hereon/Zhiyong Xie)

This review is a synthesis of current knowledge on the transport, biogeochemistry and effects of organophosphate esters (OPEs) in the marine environment. OPEs have been applied on a large scale as flame retardants, plasticizers and additives in industrial production, household consumer products and personal care products and can be released into the environment during production, application and disposal of OPE-related materials.

Xie, Z., Wang, P., Wang, X., Castro-Jiménez, J., Kallenborn, R., Liao, C., Mi, W., Lohmann, R., Vila-Costa, M., Dachs, J. (2022): Organophosphate ester pollution in the oceans. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment (2022), doi: 10.1038/s43017-022-00277-w

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Legacy and Emerging Contaminants in Polar Regions

Xie Hereon Arctic

Arctic fjord (Photo: Hereon/Zhiyong Xie)

Representatives from chemicals regulation and management, monitoring and assessment programs, environmental specimen banks, information and data platforms jointly discussed pressing chemical pollution issues in the Arctic and Antartica with international experts from contaminant research and opportunities for collaboration.

The Final Synthesis of the initiative is now available in the Coastal Pollution Toolbox .

Link: Synthesis Report