Primary literature in ecotoxicology routinely covers how single stressors impact organisms, however this is seldom representative of aquatic environments in the Anthropocene. Freshwater ecosystems are subject to high levels of chemical pollution through wastewater effluent and agricultural run-off. It is apparent that freshwater fauna are continually exposed to a myriad of biotic and abiotic stressors, which interact producing either additive, antagonistic or synergistic responses. As a result, freshwater fish are facing higher extinction rates than any other vertebrate group, therefore it is imperitive that we improve our understanding of multistressor impacts on fish welfare and disease, in order to persuade policy and industry away from producing harmful concoctions which pollute freshwater ecosystems.
As part of the ECORISC CDT and working alongside project partners CEFAS and BAM clothing, the main objectives of this PhD are to; (i) elucidate the 'ecological surprises' that come from multistressor interactions through the application of bio assays, analytical chemistry and molecular techniques, (ii) improve our understanding of multistressor interactions and their impacts on fish welfare and disease resistance using the established Guppy-Gyrodactylus host-pathogen system and (iii) compare known anthropogenic toxicants with 'green' alternatives on the market in order to source suitable substitutes and highlight greenwashing in industry.