Ecological archetypes – project is GEEN TKI project
Doel van het project
a) Extract representative ecological archetypes from field data that are on the one hand as simple as possible and on the other hand instrumental for the detection of baseline/reference ecosystem status and different levels of pollution and habitat type in various geographical regions. (1 Jan 16 - 31 Jun 17)b) Develop the first series of trait-based ecosystem models for use in aquatic risk assessment in order to link taxon-specific toxicity data to sensitivity vulnerability and functionality. Given the fate of most HPC products these models will include the benthic compartment. (1 Jul 17 - 31 Dec 18)c) Link water and sediment exposure archetypes of typical HPC chemicals to ecosystem models to predict effects of treated and untreated sewage output on the ecological archetypes and to perform higher tier environmental risk assessments of chemicals. (1 Jul 18 - 31 Dec 19)
Unilever Wageningen University Univesity of Namur en Alterra have embarked on a research on archetypes and models for use in the aquatic risk assessment of home and personal care (HPC) products. The aims of the research project are:• The characterization of species assemblages i.e. the taxonomic (or trait) structure and biodiversity representative of different river ecosystems. • The development of ecological models describing the species assemblages and their interactions.The research includes some fundamental ecological questions e.g. how to identify relations between taxonomy and function in freshwater ecosystems how to identify universal descriptions of ecosystems (ecological archetypes) that are transferable between different regions and how to set up the structure of predictive ecosystem models.
The rersearch project consists will be carried out by two PHD canidates. One in Wageningen and one in Namur. Additional research work is planned for Alterra. Unilver will bring expertise and experience with it's Home and Personal Care Products and will monitor the progress and development. The following steps are planned:1. Scenario development1.1 Development of proposed archetypes1.2: Selection of response and effect traits.1.3: Defining and refining proposed archetypes in terms of traits1.4: Link of final archetypes with ecological models2. Model development2.1: Library of ecosystem models of varying complexity2.2: Models for the different ecological archetypes2.3: Forecasts of the ecological consequences 4. Gathering of parameterisation and validation data sets4.1. Performance of experiments to parameterise the developed models and scenarios4.2. Gathering of field data to validate the developed models and scenarios3. Publications3. Publications3.1 Writing of thesis and papers
Models have been used for a long time to calculate the exposure concentrations of chemicals in the water but hardly to assess the ecological consequences of the exposure profiles. It is therefore a hot issue to develop ecological models and associated scenarios which include both characteristics needed for exposure (hydrology) as well as for effects (species composition) and both (e.g. temperature organic matter content). The consortium has just finished a science project that developed ecological models which can be used for risk assessment. In this project these models will be places in their environmental context (scenarios) and adapted and further developed to fulfil the need for ecological risk assessment. This kind of project has not been performed before and although this project will focus on home and personal care products there is much interest from institutions dealing with other types of chemicals (e.g. pesticides: industry and EFSA) on the results of this project.
The project will organise regular meetings with Unilever and associated stakeholders (e.g. regulators, other HPC companies and other academics) to 1) maximise the knowledge transfer to the stakeholders and 2) to increase the acceptability of the developed instruments and their outcome. At the end of the project an national workshop will be organised to inform other potential end-users (e.g. waterboards, CTGB, Deltares, RIVM). Also an international workshop will be organised in cooperation with the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) to inform the international industry, regulators, NGOs, consultants and academia) to explore the applicability to other types of chemicals (e.g. pesticides, veterinary medicines), environmental compartments (e.g. estuarine and marine environment) and geographical regions.
Since this project includes PhD students, all results will be published and publically available. The new developed IP is owned by the research institutes, see TKI agreement for stipulations.
After start of the research work, the partners, objective and progress can be followed on the website by Wageningen University and the TKI Deltatechnologie. During the PHD reseach several scientific publications will be developed.
Progress and opportunities to learn from the current state of reseacrh can be found on the website of the project. As stated, external partners will be informed during the research project.