MULTICOP: Effects of multiple stressors on coastal copepods

MULTICOP is financed by the Research Council of Norway (RCN)

Marine copepod in algae

Harpacticoid copepods in filamentous algae. Photo by Marjolijn Dijkman and Toril Johannessen

About the project

In MULTICOP, we study the complex question of how multiple stressors (biological stress and anthropogenic toxicants) affect critical biological responses at the individual- and population-level in important coastal marine animals: copepods. The primary objective in MULTICOP is to identify the dominant mechanism of interactions between biotic stressors and contaminant toxicity, exemplified in our project by combining predation risk and copper exposure to copepods.

We take an integrative approach, combining lab, field and dynamic energy budget (DEB) modelling studies, to understand how perceived predation risk affects the toxicity response to copper exposure – an antifouling biocide used in high volume in shipping and aquaculture along the Norwegian coast. Our results will provide much needed knowledge of the biological effects from multiple stressors with importance to future environmental management and seafood production.

Toxicology assessments traditionally focus on single stressor exposure of model organisms. In contrast to the controlled conditions encountered in laboratory setups, natural habitats vary largely in biotic factors such as competition for food and risk of predation. Predation is an important stressor in the marine environment and acts both through consumptive and non-consumptive effects. Coastal areas are often exposed to multiple anthropogenic stressors from terrestrial runoff and river transport, human settlements, and local industries. These habitats are thus highly relevant for multiple stressor studies, yet only a few studies focus on the interactions between biotic and anthropogenic stressors in coastal environments.

Master projects

The MULTICOP project started in May 2020. We have a wide range of potential master projects available, where some have a focus on the effects of multiple stressors on life history endpoints and the underlying mechanisms, while others compare selected responses between species. Targeted endpoints are vital life-history parameters, including reproduction, foraging and other behaviours.

We offer training in the exciting and highly relevant ecotoxicology field, and, as part of our work to improve applicability of our research, opportunities to participate and influence future environmental monitoring through collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

To learn more please feel free contact us.


This project is funded by The Research Council of Norway.


Start: 18.05.2020. End: 31.12.2023


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Published May 29, 2020 2:22 PM - Last modified Jan. 20, 2022 5:09 PM