Ecotoxicology

Baker Consultants Marine Limited used toxicity tests combined with chemical characterisation of a site in the Baltic sea to conduct an environmental impact study; the results are determinant for the decision-making process.

What is ecotoxicology?

Ecotoxicology is a multidisciplinary science which combines Chemistry, Toxicology, Pharmacology and Ecology and aims to establish relationships between biotic and abiotic variables or measuring the effects of a particular stressor on ecologically important endpoints.

Ecotoxicology differs from environmental toxicology in that it integrates the effects of stressors across all levels of biological organization from the molecular level to whole communities and ecosystems, whereas environmental toxicology focuses upon effects at the level of the individual and below.

Why is ecotoxicology useful?

According to the European Union’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) the assessment of whether or not Good Environmental Status (GES) of our seas is achieved should be based upon monitoring programmes covering the concentrations of chemical contaminants and also biological measurements relating to the effects of pollutants on marine organisms, developing marine ecotoxicology data, including for emerging contaminants and increase knowledge on its bioavailability and effects.

As the occurrence of adverse effects at various levels of organisation (organism, population, community, and ecosystem) needs to be avoided, ecotoxicology tests (effect based methodologies, with the assessment of environmental concentrations of contaminants) provide a powerful and comprehensive approach.

 Did you know?

Recently the International Council for the Exploration of Seas (ICES) published its advice to the OSAPR commission in relation to contaminants; there it identified substances that are of growing concern and need further investigation. These include anticorrosion agents from offshore windfarms

Interesting fact: Ecotoxicology and Toxicology principles were shown on the 2000 movie Erin Brockovich!

To find out more click on the links below:

Endless Fallout documentary

Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry