Sensors 2012, 12(9), 12741-12771; doi:10.3390/s120912741
Review

Effect-Based Tools for Monitoring and Predicting the Ecotoxicological Effects of Chemicals in the Aquatic Environment

1,†, 2,†,* email and 3,†
1 School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA 2 Aquatic Systems Biology Unit, Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management, Technische Universität München, Mühlenweg 22, D-85354 Freising, Germany 3 Swiss Centre for Applied Ecotoxicology Eawag-EPFL, Überlandstrasse 133, CH-8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 July 2012; in revised form: 28 August 2012 / Accepted: 30 August 2012 / Published: 18 September 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioassays)
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Abstract: Ecotoxicology faces the challenge of assessing and predicting the effects of an increasing number of chemical stressors on aquatic species and ecosystems. Herein we review currently applied tools in ecological risk assessment, combining information on exposure with expected biological effects or environmental water quality standards; currently applied effect-based tools are presented based on whether exposure occurs in a controlled laboratory environment or in the field. With increasing ecological relevance the reproducibility, specificity and thus suitability for standardisation of methods tends to diminish. We discuss the use of biomarkers in ecotoxicology including ecotoxicogenomics-based endpoints, which are becoming increasingly important for the detection of sublethal effects. Carefully selected sets of biomarkers allow an assessment of exposure to and effects of toxic chemicals, as well as the health status of organisms and, when combined with chemical analysis, identification of toxicant(s). The promising concept of “adverse outcome pathways (AOP)” links mechanistic responses on the cellular level with whole organism, population, community and potentially ecosystem effects and services. For most toxic mechanisms, however, practical application of AOPs will require more information and the identification of key links between responses, as well as key indicators, at different levels of biological organization, ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services.
Keywords: bioassays; biomarkers; toxicity identification; ecosystem effects; ecotoxicogenomics; ecotoxicology; aquatic toxicology; ecological monitoring; adverse outcome pathways; systems biology

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MDPI and ACS Style

Connon, R.E.; Geist, J.; Werner, I. Effect-Based Tools for Monitoring and Predicting the Ecotoxicological Effects of Chemicals in the Aquatic Environment. Sensors 2012, 12, 12741-12771.

AMA Style

Connon RE, Geist J, Werner I. Effect-Based Tools for Monitoring and Predicting the Ecotoxicological Effects of Chemicals in the Aquatic Environment. Sensors. 2012; 12(9):12741-12771.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Connon, Richard E.; Geist, Juergen; Werner, Inge. 2012. "Effect-Based Tools for Monitoring and Predicting the Ecotoxicological Effects of Chemicals in the Aquatic Environment." Sensors 12, no. 9: 12741-12771.

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