Publication Details

Reference Category Book chapters
DOI / URL link
Title (Primary) Predicting toxic effects of contaminants in ecosystems using single species investigations
Title (Secondary) Bioindicators & biomonitors. Principles, concepts and applications
Author Altenburger, R.; Schmitt-Jansen, M.;
Publisher Breure, A.M.; Markert, B.A.; Zechmeister, H.G.;
Journal Trace Metals and other Contaminants in the Environment
Year 2003
Department BIOTOX; COE;
Volume 6
Language englisch;
Abstract

The usefulness of information gained from investigations of single species for predicting adverse effects of chemical contamination on aquatic ecosystems is discussed in this contribution. The frame for prediction efforts is thereby provided by the type and number of chemicals considered, the time and spatial scale of pollution and the criteria for an assessment. Further, any attempt to predict ecotoxicological effects on the basis of single species observation requires instrumentalisation of current understanding of ecosystems and biological action of compounds for a specific assessment task.

Various methods and tools that link chemical and biological types of information specifically to establish a functional relationship between exposure concentration and effect, model biological responses of long-term exposure, identify components of ecotoxicological concern in complex contaminated samples, calculate expected combined effects for mixtures of pollutants, understand modes of ecotoxic action, and predict biological activities from compounds structural properties are reviewed. The methodologies introduced all have their specific drawbacks concerning the scope to assess and predict ecosystem responses. Various approaches addressing extrapolation problems like in situ-toxicity testing, species sensitivity distributions, comparative studies using laboratory assays and micro- and mesocosm studies are additionall considered.

It is concluded from the review of current literature that all evidence so far shows, that single species data on the toxicity of pollutants can be used to predict the potential of adverse effects in ecosystems. There is no evidence that complex model ecosystems are systematically more or less sensitive to toxicants than single species tests. Principal limitations for extrapolation emerge when longer time scales are of concern or when structures or processes above the level of populations are affected. Additionally, ecological issues considered from a recovery perspective like recolonisation or functional replacement of species might modify assessment views.

ID 4685
Persistent UFZ Identifier https://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=20939&ufzPublicationIdentifier=4685
Altenburger, R., Schmitt-Jansen, M. (2003):
Predicting toxic effects of contaminants in ecosystems using single species investigations
In: Breure, A.M., Markert, B.A., Zechmeister, H.G. (eds.)
Bioindicators & biomonitors. Principles, concepts and applications
Trace Metals and other Contaminants in the Environment 6
Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 153 - 198