Schools Taking Part in a Research Project Investigating Dioxins in Fish

  • Eldbjørg Sofie HeimstadEmail author
  • Gaute Grønstøl
  • Karl Torstein Hetland
  • Javier Martinez Alarcon
  • Charlotta Rylander
  • Espen Mariussen
Part of the From Pole to Pole book series (POLE)


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.


Environmental 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.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eldbjørg Sofie Heimstad
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gaute Grønstøl
    • 2
  • Karl Torstein Hetland
    • 3
  • Javier Martinez Alarcon
    • 4
  • Charlotta Rylander
    • 5
  • Espen Mariussen
    • 6
  1. 1.Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU)The Fram CentreTromsøNorway
  2. 2.Centre of Schools’ Science EducationUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  3. 3.Norwegian Centre for Science EducationOsloNorway
  4. 4.Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU)KjellerNorway
  5. 5.Institute of Community MedicineUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway
  6. 6.Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI)KjellerNorway

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