Ongoing research in bird ecotoxicology

– Jaspers Lab

Ongoing research in my group is focusing on interactions between natural stressors and pollutant exposure in birds. The development, validation and employment of non-destructive biomonitoring methods (for example feathers) is an integral part of the research performed in the Bird ecotoxicology group.

Recent research focuses on emerging flame retardants and on interactions of pollution and environmental stressors over time. I am managing an ongoing project called NewRaptor that is looking at emerging chemicals in goshawks and white-tailed eagles, including sampling locations in Spain and Norway. An international team of researchers is involved looking not only at exposure but also effects of these compounds on for example blood clinical parameters, oxidative stress, immune and stress response and behavior.  Further research is conducted on black-legged kittiwakes and glaucous gulls at Svalbard, in collaboration with  Geir Wing Gabrielsen (Norwegian Polar Institute) and Claus Bech (NTNU).

One study was recently published showing that higher POPs levels in one kittiwake colony were higher than in the other colony, covarying with different thyroid hormone ratios (Svendsen et al. 2018). In addition, immunotoxicological research on birds is performed by my post doc Dr. Courtney Waugh.

I have recently set up a fully equipped lab for sample preparation to analyse for organic pollutants, such as PCBs, flame retardants and emerging compounds at the Biology Department. There is close collaboration with the other labs in the Environmental Toxicology group and further possibilities to collaborate with other groups at the Biology department.


Veerle Jaspers