The use of traits-based approaches and eco(toxico)logical models to advance the ecological risk assessment framework for chemicals

P.J. van den Brink, D.J. Baird, J.M. Baveco, A. Focks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article presents a framework to diagnose and predict the effects of chemicals, integrating 2 promising tools to incorporate more ecology into ecological risk assessment, namely traits-based approaches and ecological modeling. Traits-based approaches are used increasingly to derive correlations between the occurrence of species traits and chemical exposure from biological and chemical monitoring data. This assessment can also be used in a diagnostic way, i.e., to identify the chemicals probably posing the highest risks to the aquatic ecosystems. The article also describes how ecological models can be used to explore how traits govern the species-substance interactions and to predict effects at the individual, population, and community and ecosystem level, i.e., from the receptor to the landscape level. This can be done by developing models describing the toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics of the chemical in the individual, the life-history of species and the connectivity of populations, determining their recovery, and the food web relations at the community and ecosystem level that determine the indirect effects. Special attention is given on how spatial aspects can be included in the ecological risk assessments using ecological models. The components of the framework are introduced and critically discussed. We describe how the different tools and data generated through experimentation (laboratory and semifield) and biomonitoring can be integrated. The article uses examples from the aquatic compartment, but the concepts that are used, and their integration within the framework, can be generalized to other environmental compartments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e47-e57
Number of pages11
JournalIntegrated Environmental Assessment and Management
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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