Transport via ocean currents of human pharmaceutical products and their impact on marine biota in the European Arctic

Project facts

Project promoter:
University of Gdańsk(PL)
Project Number:
PL-Basic Research-0020
In implementation
Initial project cost:
Donor Project Partners:
University Centre in Svalbard(NO)
Other Project Partners
Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences(PL)
Medical University of Gdansk(PL)

More information


The remarkably cross-Europe increased use of pharmaceuticals and their large disposal volumes raised concern about the ubiquitous occurrence and impacts of these compounds in natural marine ecosystems. The PHARMARINE project will contribute to EU policy by providing new experimental knowledge on unknown yet transport vectors and fate of human drugs via ocean currents from the continental Europe to polar regions in the European Arctic. Potential aqueous biopathways of pharmaceuticals (dissolved phase in water and forms bound to phytoplankton and dominant zooplankton species) will be investigated at several locations along a northward transect going from the South (the Baltic Sea and the North Sea catchment areas) through the Norwegian Coastal Current and warm North Atlantic Current to the Spitsbergen fjords (Hornsund and Kongsfjorden) in the North. In addition, potential of pharmaceuticals to accumulate in the benthic macroinvertebrates will be unravelled in order to assess contamination status of the Arctic fauna. The PHARMARINE will use the available field and laboratory facilities and expertise of Polish-Norwegian research teams of complementary competence, to study important and environmentally relevant issues. The proposed project will produce new data and conceptual understanding of: 1) potential transport pathways of pharmaceuticals with water masses from mid-latitude more contaminated areas to the European Arctic; 2) bioaccumulation and biomagnification processes of drugs in the Arctic; 3) biological impacts of pharmaceutical pollutants on sedentary benthic species. The resulting biological indicators of stress induced by the presence of drugs in the ambient environment can also provide a useful tool to forecast and assess environmental risk assessment in the European Arctic.

Information on the projects funded by the EEA and Norway Grants is provided by the Programme and Fund Operators in the Beneficiary States, who are responsible for the completeness and accuracy of this information.