Application of biological effects methods in monitoring and assessment of contaminants in the Baltic Sea (BEACON)



The marine environment is exposed to a vast array of “legacy” and “emerging” contaminants in various combinations. When examined individually they rarely exceed acceptable levels but acting together, they may have severe adverse effects on ecosystems. Accelerating climate change and other environmental pressures, such as eutrophication, make it even more difficult to identify these effects using conventional single-chemical monitoring and assessment methods. Thus, it is vital to develop and apply tools that help us to identify multiple and often diffuse pressures and evaluate their impacts on ecosystem health.

The Mission

BEACON focuses on the implementation of biological effects methods in the monitoring of marine pollution. The biological effects methods are key tools in understanding the consequences that chemical exposure has for wildlife, as these consequences cannot be detected by measuring the concentrations of chemicals only.

For us, the key question is: Why biological effects methods are rarely included in the monitoring of the state of the environment and risk assessment of hazardous substances?

In BEACON we aim at

  • contacting stakeholders, practitioners, and managers directly through a survey to evaluate their needs and understand barriers in addressing mixed effects of contaminants,
  • summarising available methodologies and carrying out a pilot evaluation of integrated biological effects of contaminants,
  • setting the scene for recommendations on harmonised procedures to be implemented at municipal, national and regional levels,
  • estimating the costs of method implementation, and
  • increasing the capacity of stakeholders.

BEACON provides

  • analysed results from the survey and a development plan to stakeholders,
  • recommendations on methodologies on how biological effects provide support for national, sub-regional, and regional management of the Baltic Sea, and
  • a robust tool that integrates several single-component or single-methodology approaches into a broad overview that allows managers to respond with further investigations or actions.

Additional information

Project Manager Anu Lastumäki, Finnish Environment Institute Syke,, tel. +358 295 251 352

Project Coordinator Kari Lehtonen, Finnish Environment Institute Syke,, tel. +358 295 251 359

Published 2023-03-13 at 18:27, updated 2023-03-16 at 12:16