This study aimed to develop a multidisciplinary approach to assess the ecological status of six moderate-sized French estuaries. For each estuary, we gathered geographical information, hydrobiological data, chemistry of pollutants and fish biology, including integration of proteomics and transcriptomics data. This integrative study covered the entire hydrological system studied, from the watershed to the estuary, and considered all the anthropogenic factors that can impact this environment. To reach this goal, European flounder (Platichthys flesus) were collected from six estuaries in September, which ensures a minimum residence time of five months within an estuary. Geographical metrics are used to characterize land use in each watershed. The concentrations of nitrite, nitrate, organic pollutants, and trace elements were measured in water, sediments and biota. All of these environmental parameters allowed to set up a typology of estuaries. Classical fish biomarkers, coupled with molecular data from transcriptomics and shotgun proteomics, highlighted the flounder's responses to stressors in its environment. We analysed the protein abundances and gene expression levels in the liver of fish from the different estuaries. We showed clear positive deregulation of proteins associated with xenobiotic detoxification in a system characterized by a large population density and industrial activity, as well as in a predominantly agricultural catchment area (mostly cultures of vegetables and pig breeding) mainly impacted by pesticides. Fish from the latter estuary also displayed strong deregulation of the urea cycle, most probably related to high nitrogen load. Proteomic and transcriptomic data also revealed a deregulation of proteins and genes related to the response to hypoxia, and a probable endocrine disruption in some estuaries. Coupling these data allowed the precise identification of the main stressors interacting within each hydrosystem.

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