Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are highly toxic chemicals used in agriculture and industry, and released during combustion processes. They enter the ocean through the sea-surface and in river input from surrounding industrial and agricultural countries.
POPs undergo a series of processes in the ocean. POPs partition according to their hydrophobicity/lipophilicity - they either dissolve in water or sorb to organic matter, depending on their properties.
Hydrophobic POPs sorb to organic matter and work their way up the food chain – they bioaccumulate and biomagnify – and are thus a threat to species at the top of the food chain, fish and mammals, and human beings (consumers).
We are modelling exchange processes of these POPs and the effect of climate change as they move up the food chain.