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Presence, behavior and risk assessment of pharmaceuticals in marine ecosystems.


Presence, behavior and risk assessment of pharmaceuticals in marine ecosystems.




  • Ongoing


Project website

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Sep 2021 - Sep 2024

Type of action

Joint Call


Presence, behavior and risk assessment of pharmaceuticals in marine ecosystems

PHARMASEA integrates international expertise to answer key research questions on the fate and biological effects of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), well-recognized contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) for marine ecosystems.

The project will allow in-depth studies on APIs distribution, effects and risks in four European coastal areas, targeting:

  • occurrence, uptake and trophic transfer along with regional marine food webs;
  • bioaccumulation/excretion kinetics, potential ecotoxicological effects from molecular to individual levels, and characterization of modes-of-action in model and selected marine species;
  • development of specific risk assessment procedures for APIs.

The communication and connection with industries, private and public stakeholders as well as citizen engagement are important aims to promote public awareness, pre-normative research and implementation into European Directives.
The project is expected to have a major impact on enhancing the scientific knowledge and awareness on interactions between human and environmental health. The results could influence prescribing and disposal practices of domestic medicines and increase market opportunities and competitiveness of European pharma industries investing in the environmental sustainability of their products.

Expected research results

  • Overview on the occurrence, fate and knowledge gaps of APIs in different European coastal ecosystems.
  • Characterization of biological effects of APIs on non-target species, list of priority APIs and mixtures in regional coastal environments.
  • A harmonized strategy for APIs  monitoring in aquatic systems and development of a  scientifically sound software-assisted tool for Environmental Risk Assessment
Project consortium

Project coordinator: Prof. Francesco REGOLI, Department of Life and Environmental Sciences - Polytechnic University of Marche (UPM) - Italy 

Communication contact: Marica MEZZELANI -  m.mezzelani(at)


Prof. Thomas Braunbeck, University of Heidelberg (UHEI), Germany

Prof. Daniela Maria Pampanin, University of Stavanger (UiS), Norway

Prof. Purificación López Mahía, Instituto Universitario de Medio Ambiente, Universidade da Coruña (UDC), Spain

Prof Víctor M. León, Spanish Institute of Oceanography of Murcia (IEO), Spain