Schools Taking Part in a Research Project Investigating Dioxins in Fish
The world is facing large environmental threats such as climate changes and spread of contaminants. Environmental awareness has become a part of our daily lives. In order to engage youth in environmental issues and ignite their interest for natural sciences, a scientifically based project was run where pupils participated in environmental research on dioxins in fish. Dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs were screened by the use of BDS DR CALUX® bioassay in 203 fish samples from 13 countries: Australia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Norway, Poland and Sweden. The project was part of the Norwegian education and outreach initiative of the International Polar Year (IPY), and schools were invited to participate. Pupils from 54 schools followed a scientific protocol for fish sampling; they recorded and published important field and fish data through a Web interface and labelled, packed and shipped the samples for CALUX analysis. We conclude that collaboration between schools and research institutions was beneficial for both partners. The results showed that the majority of the fish samples had dioxin levels below the maximum limit set by the EU commission. These results would be difficult to obtain without the effort of the involved schools.
KeywordsEnvironmental research Schools Dioxins Fish Consumption
We would like to express our gratitude to all the enthusiastic teachers who have arranged fishing field trips and inspired their pupils to do scientific work, to pose their own questions and to formulate their own answers and conclusions. Finally, we will say to the pupils: “We are impressed over your enthusiasm and skills as real scientific researchers, and hope to work with you in the future!” We are grateful for the financial support from the Research Council of Norway, project 18218: “A global network of schools investigating environmental pollutants in fish from the Arctic and worldwide”. We are very grateful for the help by Therese H. Nøst with the graphics. Thanks also to an anonymous referee for constructive input.
- Andresen MU, Høgmo N, Sandås A (2015) Learning from ESD-projects during the UN decade in Norway. In: Jucker J, Mathar R (eds) Schooling for sustainable development in Europe. Springer Scientfic Publishing, Dordrecht, pp 241–255Google Scholar
- Heimstad ES, Herzke D (2004) Arctic POPs. Scientific report. NILU, OR 74/2004Google Scholar
- Heimstad ES, Herzke D, Endregard G, Hetland K (2003) Circumpolar investigation of brominated diphenyl ethers—connecting research and education. Organohalogen Comp 61:65–68Google Scholar
- Knain E, Kolstø SD (2011) Utforskende arbeidsmåter—en oversikt. In: Knain E, Kolstø SD (eds) Elever som forskere i naturfag. Universitetsforlaget, Oslo, pp: 13–55 (In Norwegian)Google Scholar
- Schoeters G, Goyvaerts MP, Ooms DL et al (2004) The evaluation of dioxin and dioxin-like contaminants in selected food samples obtained from the Belgian market: comparison of TEQ measurements obtained through the CALUX bioassay with congener specific chemical analyses. Chemosphere 54:1289–1297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Van den Berg M, Birnbaum L, Bosveld AT, Brunström B, Cook P, Feeley M, Giesy JP, Hanberg A, Hasegawa R, Kennedy SW, Kubiak T, Larsen JC, van Leeuwen FX, Liem AK, Nolt C, Peterson RE, Poellinger L, Safe S, Schrenk D, Tillitt D, Tysklind M, Younes M, Waern F, Zacharewski T (1998) Toxic equivalency factors (TEFs) for PCBs, PCDDs, PCDFs for humans and wildlife. Environ Health Perspect 106:775–792CrossRefGoogle Scholar