An important topic in the registration of pesticides and the interpretation of monitoring data is the estimation of the consequences of a certain concentration of a pesticide for the ecology of aquatic ecosystems. Solving these problems requires predictions of the expected response of the ecosystem to chemical stress. Up until now, a dominant approach to come up with such a prediction is the use of simulation models or safety factors. The disadvantage of the use of safety factors is a crude method that does not provide any insight into the concentration-response relationships at the ecosystem level. On the other hand, simulation models also have serious drawbacks like that they are often very complex, lack transparency, their implementation is expensive and there may be a compilation of errors, due to uncertainties in parameters and processes. In this paper, we present the expert model prediction of the ecological risks of pesticides (PERPEST) that overcomes these problems. It predicts the effects of a given concentration of a pesticide based on the outcome of already performed experiments using experimental ecosystems. This has the great advantage that the outcome is more realistic. The paper especially discusses how this model can be used to translate measured and predicted concentrations of pesticides into ecological risks, by taking data on measured and predicted concentrations of atrazine as an example. It is argued that this model can be of great use to evaluate the outcome of chemical monitoring programmes (e.g. performed in the light of the Water Framework Directive) and can even be used to evaluate the effects of mixtures. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- species sensitivity distributions