Moving beyond a descriptive aquatic toxicology: the value of biological process and trait information

Segner, Helmut (2011). Moving beyond a descriptive aquatic toxicology: the value of biological process and trait information. Aquatic toxicology, 105(3-4 Suppl), pp. 50-5. Amsterdam: Elsevier 10.1016/j.aquatox.2011.06.016

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In order to improve the ability to link chemical exposure to toxicological and ecological effects, aquatic toxicology will have to move from observing what chemical concentrations induce adverse effects to more explanatory approaches, that are concepts which build on knowledge of biological processes and pathways leading from exposure to adverse effects, as well as on knowledge on stressor vulnerability as given by the genetic, physiological and ecological (e.g., life history) traits of biota. Developing aquatic toxicology in this direction faces a number of challenges, including (i) taking into account species differences in toxicant responses on the basis of the evolutionarily developed diversity of phenotypic vulnerability to environmental stressors, (ii) utilizing diversified biological response profiles to serve as biological read across for prioritizing chemicals, categorizing them according to modes of action, and for guiding targeted toxicity evaluation; (iii) prediction of ecological consequences of toxic exposure from knowledge of how biological processes and phenotypic traits lead to effect propagation across the levels of biological hierarchy; and (iv) the search for concepts to assess the cumulative impact of multiple stressors. An underlying theme in these challenges is that, in addition to the question of what the chemical does to the biological receptor, we should give increasing emphasis to the question how the biological receptor handles the chemicals, i.e., through which pathways the initial chemical-biological interaction extends to the adverse effects, how this extension is modulated by adaptive or compensatory processes as well as by phenotypic traits of the biological receptor.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Center for Fish and Wildlife Health (FIWI)

UniBE Contributor:

Segner, Helmut


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture








Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:31

Last Modified:

23 Jul 2014 15:50

Publisher DOI:


Web of Science ID:


URI: (FactScience: 218351)

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