February 13, 2019 by Iain Wilson
Reliable ecotoxicity data are required to derive thresholds protective for aquatic life that are scientifically defensible and practically implementable as environmental risk assessment and management tools. Adam Peters, Graham Merrington, Dean Leverett and I, along with Chris Schlekat and Emily Garman of NiPERA have recently published a paper regarding this issue in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.
Much of the data which have historically been used to derive environmental quality thresholds for nickel have been generated using temperate species. This has raised concerns that a lack of inclusion of data for tropical ecosystem species may mean that they are not adequately protected by thresholds derived from temperate species. In the published paper chronic ecotoxicity data for nickel, generated using freshwater species from different climatic regions of the world, have been collated and comparisons between tropical and temperate datasets made. These comparison were undertaken on the basis of derived threshold values and overall distributions of the ecotoxicity data; additionally assessments were made between groups of species and closely related species from different climatic regions. The analysis indicated that the sensitivities of tropical and temperate species cover similar ranges and that an approach based on including as diverse a range of taxa as possible is recommended to ensure the protection of sensitive species in both temperate and tropical ecosystems. The full article is available to download here.