ECOTREE represents a holistic and multi- to interdisciplinary proposal outside a mining context covering large parts of the REE life cycle, from the geochemistry of anthropogenic REEs, their dynamics in (waste)water systems, their speciation and related bioavailability, their trophic transfer and environmental impact assessment at different biological levels and through a Life Cycle Assessment perspective. This proposal is a decisive step towards the ecotoxicological mechanistic understanding of REEs in the freshwater ecosystems and based on AOP approach will help to define appropriate strategies for better management of their predicted increased contamination.
The innovation brought by this project mainly lies in the following aspects:
- Topic: Strategic or critical metals and more particularly Rare Earth Elements ecotoxicology, linking their speciation to their biological effects.
Comprehension of REE environmental impacts using a two-way wiring approach from field observations to laboratory manipulations and back to field applications.
- Design: based on both a Tier and a multi- to interdisciplinary approach from field observations through screening to focused experimental manipulation. Under increasing environmental realistic conditions. Develop in AOP framework and integrated in a life cycle perspective.
- Facility: large experimental rooms and microscosm exposure systems allowing several hundreds of concomitant experimental conditions. Inside mesocosm systems individually fit with multi-parameter probes and data logger. State-of-the-art and complete Omics platform for transcriptomic and proteomic.
- Finality: Linking fundamental research to application in the field of freshwater ecosystem quality assessment and waste-water treatment with “Pôle de Compétences Hydreos” and affiliated companies and to education through scientist and teacher training with the partnership of "Tous Chercheurs en Lorraine" and educational project “Maison pour la Science”.