Project duration: 2013-2016

Funding: BMBF

Principle investigator at the Goethe University, Department Evolutionary Ecology & Environmental Toxicology (E3T)
  • Prof. Dr. Henner Hollert
  • Thomas Benjamin Seiler

Project process
  • Leonie Nüßer (PhD Thesis)

Cooperation partners
  • Dr. Avi Ostfeld Technion, Israel)
  • Dr. Elad Salomon (Technion, Israel)
  • Prof. Holger Schüttrumpf
  • Dr. Cartina Coffalla
  • Dipl. Ing. Caroline Ganal
  • Institute of Hydraulic Engeneering and Water Resources Management (IWW) at RWTH Aachen University

W³-Hydro is motivated by three demands: water availability, water quality and water security. Hence, it is important to identify situations when the demands are threatened by sudden, unforeseen and negative events. For detecting contamination in natural waters and water supply systems it is necessary to develop an early warning system in order to secure mankind and the environment. Changes in motoric behaviour of organisms are a sensitive endpoint for the assessment of toxicity of chemicals. We proposed to use behavioral changes of zebrafish larvae for the detection of sudden contamination events in a water stream. Early life stages of zebrafish are not protected as animals until 120 hours post fertilization (hpf), hence zebrafish embryos at the age of 96 hpf were used to establish an animal free vertebrate method for event detection. Since early stages of zebrafish are very sensitive towards toxic substances, and behaviour is a sensitive bioindicator, the system is a promising tool to detect toxic substances fast and in low concentration ranges. In order to determine the sensitivity and reliability of this system a number of experiments are conducted using cadmium and permethrin as models.


Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Henner Hollert

Goethe University Frankfurt
Biologicum, Campus Riedberg
Max-von-Laue-Str. 13
60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Room: 3.319
Phone: +49 (0)69 798 42171
Fax: +49 (0)69 798 42161
Email: hollert(at)bio(dot)uni-frankfurt(dot)de

Former Affiliation: