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Alice Saunier


Postdoc in Aquatic Ecotoxicology

Research Funding: ANSES Carbatox Contract  (02/2018 to 08/2019)

« Rejection impact of pharmaceutical drugs in freshwater on the reproduction and development of aquatic organisms »


To learn more about my professional background and my research activities:

Micro-pollutants (including drugs) are ubiquitous in water at concentrations below µg/L and may constitute a risk for water quality and aquatic environments. Despite undeniable progress over recent decades, a large number of them ends up in aquatic ecosystems. They come through the continuously discharge of wastewater effluents where numerous pharmaceuticals are found due to the non-specific methods of degradation at sewage treatment plant level. In this context, it is of prime interest to evaluate the eco-toxicological impact of drugs on the aquatic ecosystems and, especially on freshwater fauna. For this purpose, the presence of various drugs from two potentially polluted effluents in France were analysed: one from a psychiatric hospital and one from urban wastewaters. Two points were sampled per effluent: (i) directly at the exit of the wastewater treatment plan station and (ii) in the receiving waterway rejection. Based on the quantification of these environmental wastewaters, an anti-epileptic (carbamazepine), a vasculoprotective (valsartan) and an analgesic (diclofenac) pharmaceuticals were selected. Toxic effects were first assessed on environmental wastewaters on the flatworm Schmidtea polychroa, and on the gastropod Radix balthica, two commonly species found in French rivers. Then, each drug and their cocktail effects in association with carbamazepine were tested at three different concentrations. Reprotoxic impacts of environmental wastewaters and these pharmaceuticals have been performed on exposed adult flatworms (fertility and fecundity). Just after laying, developmental toxicity have been assessed on the transparent gelatinous egg masses containing embryos until hatching. Parallel to macroscopic approach, transcriptomic responses to drug exposure were assessed in the lab. Present work will help us to highlight the putative link between physiology and genetic levels and will provide a better understanding of the mechanism of action of these pharmaceuticals on the two freshwater organisms.


+33 563 48 17 00


  • Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology and Marine Ecology, LIENSs-UMR7266-CNRS-University of La Rochelle (2012-2015)
  • M.Sc. in Oceanography and Marine Environments, University Pierre & Marie Curie, Paris (2010-2012)


  • Benadelmouna A., Saunier A., Ledu C., Travers M-A., Morga B. Genomic abnormalities affecting blue mussels (Mytilus edulis-galloprovincialis) in France are related to ongoing neoplasic process as evidenced by dual flow cytometry and cell monolayer analyses. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 157:45-52 [IF 2.51] – doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2018.08.003
  • Van Colen C., Jansson A., Saunier A., Lacoue-Labarthe T., Vincx M. 2018. Biogeographic vulnerability to ocean acidification and warming in a marine bivalve. Marine Pollution Bulletin 126:308-311 [IF 3.15] – doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.10.092
  • Pante E., Poitrimol C., Saunier A., Becquet V., Garcia P. 2017. Sex-linked heteroplasmy in the tellinid bivalve Limecola balthica. Journal of Molluscan Studies 83:226-228. [IF 1.34] – doi: 10.1093/mollus/eyw038
  • Saunier A., Garcia P., Becquet V., Marsaud N., Escudié F., Pante E. 2014. Mitochondrial genomes of the Baltic clam Macoma balthica (Bivalvia: Tellinidae): setting the stage for studying mito-nuclear incompatibilities. BMC Evolutionary Biology 14:259. [IF: 3.41] – doi: 10.1186/s12862-014-0259-z
  • Lejeusne C., Saunier A., Petit N., Béguer M., Otani M., Carlton J.T., Rico C., Green A.J. 2014. High genetic diversity and absence of founder effects in a worldwide aquatic invader. Scientific Reports 4:1-9. [IF 5.08] – doi: 10.1038/srep05808