Community level ecological risk assessments of pesticides: determining the optimal species level precision

Project Reference: 330991
Activity Code: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IIF
Coordinator: Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ


The ecological risks of plant protection products (pesticides) to ecological communities can be estimated using statistical distribution of the sensitivities of multiple species called SSD (species sensitivity distribution) to infer the concentration that will protect some percentage of species, often 95%. As currently used, SSDs are problematic because they are composed of small and non-random sample of species that do not reflect any known community. So SSDs will protect more or less than 95% of species by an unknown amount. The chief difficult for obtaining sensitivity data for more species and from sets of species that reflect specific communities is that the development of standardised tests with new species is relatively resource intensive.
I have suggested that SSDs could more accurately predict the risk of chemicals to specific communities by obtaining approximate estimates of sensitivity of a wide range of species sampled from a specific community using rapid tests. Rapid tests use field collected organisms with less replication and standardisation that is conventional in ecotoxicology. Effectively what is being suggested is trading reduced accuracy of the sensitivity of each species so as to be able to test more species from specific communities, which should result in more accurate assessments of the risks of pesticides to ecological communities. This project will determine what level of precision of estimates of species sensitivity is optimal for SSDs vs. replicate species and their representativeness of real ecological communities. This will determine how to best estimate the risk of pesticides to specific ecological communities.

Project Details: 

Start Date: -
End Date: -
EU Contribution: EUR 223 778
Total Costs: EUR 223 778
Programme Acronym: FP7-People
Subprogramme Area: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IIF
Funding Scheme: International Incoming Fellowships (IIF)
Administrative Contact Person: Annette SCHMIDT (Ms.)

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