SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
  October 2010
Volume 11 Issue 11

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SETAC Europe Awards

The opening ceremony of the SETAC Europe 20th Annual meeting in Seville, Spain (23-27 May 2010), highlighted the achievement of both young and career scientists who have made contributions in their field consistent with the Society's goals by announcing a series of scientific awards. During the closing ceremony, this year's winners of the Young Scientist Awards for best platform and poster presentations were also honored. We offer our congratulations for the outstanding work conducted by our members.

SETAC Europe Young Scientist Award—The Young Scientist Awards (YSA) honor two young scientists for their outstanding presentations each year at the annual meeting.

Lucia Vergauwen 2009 ECETOC Best Platform Presentation
Lucia Vergauwen (University of Antwerp, Belgium) received the ECETOC Best Platform Award for her presentation "An Integrated Study to the Effects of Temperature Acclimation in Zebrafish" at the SETAC Europe 19th Annual Meeting in Göteborg, Sweden (31 May-4 June 2009). The scope of her study was to provide an integrated understanding of the effects of thermal acclimation in zebrafish by combining data at several levels of biological organization. Zebrafish were acclimated to a higher or lower temperature than optimal and data at the transcriptome level were combined with biochemical and organismal data rendering a broad view on temperature responses in zebrafish. Combining transcriptomics with analyses at higher levels of biological organization has proven to add value in this study and has rendered a broad view on the mechanisms of thermal acclimation in zebrafish.

Graeme Hickey 2009 Tom Feijtel Best Poster Presentation
Graeme Hickey (Durham University, UK) received the Tom Feijtel Best Poster Award for his poster entitled "On the Application of Loss Functions for Determining Hazardous Concentrations" at the SETAC Europe 19th Annual Meeting in Göteborg, Sweden (31 May-4 June 2009). In his poster, Graeme proposes an alternative loss function for determining hazardous concentrations known as Scaled Linear Exponential (LINEX), which is non-linearly asymmetric in a precautionary way, such that overestimation and underestimation are punished at an exponential and linear rate, respectively. This loss function is used to derive an alternative class of HCx estimators.

Anne-Marie Boulay2010 ECETOC Best Platform Presentation
Anne-Marie Boulay (CIRAIG - Ecole Polytechnique, Montreal, QC, Canada) was awarded the YSA Best Platform Presentation at the close of this year's meeting for her presentation on "Using GIS to Evaluate Regional Human Health Impacts from Water Use." Her paper focused on an operational method characterizing the impact pathway leading to the human health endpoint and to illustrate how a GIS tool can be used to perform regionalization.

The methodology quantifies the impacts from the volume of freshwater rendered unavailable, accounting for the type of use (degradative or consumptive) and as a function of regional water scarcity, quality of water used and released, type of resource used, ability to adapt to freshwater scarcity (through backup technologies) and impact intensity on human health. Scarcity data were aggregated at the watershed level, while other data were only available at the country scale. These two scales were then intersected using ArcGIS, in order to use the most relevant data for each cell created.

Results show that impacts on human health generated from a deficit of water are null in countries with 100% adaptation because there is no direct impact on human health from water use. However, indirect impacts from compensation scenarios should then be evaluated. Using a GIS system allows for the combination of available data at different scales, resulting in an impact assessment that is more regional than the country scale, highlighting important existing water scarcity disparities within a country. Moreover, results can be agregated at different scales, according to available information on the water-consuming region. This results in an increased interpretation capacity and the potential for sensitivity analyses at different scales.

Andrea Emili 2010 Tom Feijtel Best Poster Presentation
Andrea Emili (University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy) was awarded this year's YSA Best Poster Presentation for his presentation on "In situ Monitoring of Mercury Species from Lagoon Sediments using Dark and Light Benthic Chambers." His research was conducted as part of the the 'Miracle' project, which was started in 2008 with the objective of identifying which environmental factors lead to potential risks of bioaccumulation of methylmercury (MeHg) by manila clams reared in an important shellfish-rearing lagoon. The biogeochemical cycling of Hg and the production and fate of MeHg were studied in the field using in situ benthic chambers at two experimental stations, where manila clams were previously seeded. Monitoring of Hg and MeHg release and production was performed during three seasonal campaigns. Two benthic chambers were deployed: a transparent one and a dark one, to study the effect of light on Hg cycling. Diurnal benthic fluxes and diffusive fluxes were calculated. Total dissolved Hg (THg) and methylmercury (MeHg) were analyzed, as well as ancillary parameters. Preliminary results from the in situ experiments suggest that MeHg production is present in both experimental sites, with no clear difference between the dark and the transparent chamber. Seasonality seems to play a role on MeHg production, which is enhanced during warmer months. Further evaluation is needed to determine which factors enhance or limit Hg mobility at the lagoon sediment-water interface and the mechanisms of Hg methylation and removal. Hg bioavailability is a crucial aspect that will be tested with the analytical results on seeded manila clams.

Christian Bogdal SETAC Europe/Eurofins Best Publication Award
Christian Bogdal (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich, Switzerland) was honored with the SETAC Europe/Eurofins Best Publication Award for the best publication in the field of Chemical Analysis and Environmental Monitoring. His publication on "Blast from the Past: Melting Glaciers as a Relevant Source for Persistent Organic Pollutants" with co-authors Peter Schmid, Markus Zennegg, Flavio S. Anselmetti, Martin Scheringer and Konrad Hungerbühler was published in 2009 in Environmental Science and Technology 43:8173-8177. This paper supports the hypothesis that melting alpine glaciers may represent a secondary source of persistent organic chemicals. Considering global warming and the accelerated melting of glaciers, this study indicates the potential for adverse environmental impacts due to the release of pollutants into pristine mountainous areas.

Monica Martinez-Haro SETAC Europe/AstraZeneca Best Publication Award
The SETAC Europe/AstraZeneca Best Publication Award for the best publication in Risk Assessment, Modeling and Theoretical Studies was awarded to Monica Martinez-Haro (University of Castilla, La Mancha, pain) for her publication "Avian Digestive Tract Simulation To Study the Effect of Grit Geochemistry and Food on Pb Shot Bioaccessibility." This paper, co-authored with Mark A. Taggart, Andy J. Green, and Rafael Mateo, was published in Environmental Science and Technology 43: 9480-9486 in 2009. In this paper, the application of a new dynamic in vitro simulated avian gizzard-intestine system to investigate lead (Pb) shot dissolution was described. The dynamic simulation allows the interactions of several factors influencing Pb dissolution such as grit composition, amount of ingested food, and number of Pb shots. It was shown that dietary supplementation with calcareous grit may reduce lead bioavailability of ingested Pb shot in birds by reducing gizzard activity, and by enhancing Pb precipitation, as well as by promoting higher dissolved calcium levels in the intestine, which may compete with Pb for intestinal absorption.

Stefanie Knauert SETAC Europe/RifCon Best Publication Award
Stefanie Knauert (Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, Switzerland) was honored with the SETAC Europe/RifCon Best Publication Award for the best publication in the field of Ecotoxicology for her work titled "Effects of Photosystem II Inhibitors and their Mixture on Freshwater Phytoplankton Succession in Outdoor Mesocosm Systems." This paper, describing the applicability of the concentration addition concept for PSII inhibitors when considering their effects on abundance and diversity of a natural algal community under environmental conditions, was co-authored by Ursula Dawo, Juliane Hollender, Udo Hommen, and Katja Knauer and published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 28(4):836-845 in 2009. These results make a remarkable contribution to the ongoing discussion concerning the incorporation of mixture toxicity in the regulation of surface water quality to adequately protect aquatic communities from adverse pesticide impacts and to guarantee a sustainable management of the aquatic ecosystems.

Hans Toni Ratte SETAC Europe/NOACK-LABORATORIES Environmental Education Award
Hans Toni Ratte (RWTH–University of Aachen, Germany) is the award winner of the prestigious SETAC Europe/NOACK -LABORATORIES Environmental Education Award 2010. The award was presented to Professor Ratte for his outstanding achievements as a scientist and mentor in the field of environmental biology and toxicology. His excellent scientific contributions to the fields of population dynamics and mathematical modeling, ecological monitoring of freshwater communities, evaluation and interpretation of higher tier studies (micro/mesocosm studies), and ecotoxicology (development of test methods, assessment approaches) are reflected in numerous publications in scientific journals, books, conference proceedings, and reports. Toni has a strong dedication to education and training and has always motivated students to participate in SETAC workshops and meetings. Besides his lectures and courses at the RWTH Aachen, he gives external lectures and training courses such as the modules "Statistics" and "Aquatic Ecotoxicology" in the SETAC-German Chemical Society post-graduate training course for certified professional ecotoxicologists, and training courses in ecotoxicological statistics for other institutions, agencies, and companies. Furthermore, he is a member and advisor of the graduate school AGEESA (Aachen Graduate School for the Elimination of Endocrine Substance from Waste Water) as well as a scientific leader in the EU Marie-Curie-Training Site "Organic Micropollutants in Aquatic Environment-Interdisciplinary Concepts for Assessment and Removal."

Ruedi Mueller-Wenk SETAC Europe Award for Lifetime Achievement in Life Cycle Assessment
The SETAC Europe Award for Lifetime Achievement in Life Cycle Assessment is conferred biannually by the SETAC Europe LCA Steering Committee. This award recognizes the outstanding contributions of individuals and/or organizations in promoting life-cycle thinking and improving LCA approaches. This year, the award is presented to Professor Ruedi Müller-Wenk, emeritus at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, for his distinguished contributions in life-cycle thinking. Prof. Müller-Wenk has been one of the pioneers in this field by publishing a book on "ecological bookkeeping" (1978), which considered not only environmental but also economic life-cycles. At that time, he was an industrial manager and later decided to change to academia. He played an important role in developing the early Life-Cycle Assessments ("Oekobilanzen"), especially the Swiss "Eco-point method" which is frequently used in Switzerland. Afterwards, Prof. Müller-Wenk contributed to SETAC working groups on Life-Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) and was co-author of a SETAC book on this topic (2002). His contribution focused on biological resources, which is a neglected field in LCIA. The same was true for noise in LCIA, and again, he developed a method that is now being modified and will be included into routine LCAs. Land-use (and misuse) seems to be his recent main focus in LCA, in addition to correctly quantifying greenhouse gases emitted during land transformation.

Jesper Kloverpris SETAC Europe Life Cycle Assessment Young Scientist Award
Jesper Hedal Kløverpris (Novozymes A/S, Denmark) received the LCA Young Scientist Award for his work in life cycle assessments. He made a remarkable contribution to the methodological development within consequential LCA of land-use changes. This scientific contribution has had and continues to have a significant impact on a very urgent issue in the development of LCA as a relevant and credible tool to support development of more sustainable technologies based on biomaterials―the modeling of land use.

Patricks Voua Otomo SETAC/Procter & Gamble Fellowship for Doctoral Research in Environmental Science
Patricks Voua Otomo (University of Stellenbosch, South Africa) received the SETAC/Procter & Gamble Fellowship for Doctoral Research in Environmental Science for his doctoral research entitled "Assessing the Role of Temperature in Metal Toxicity to Soil Organisms by using Biomarkers and Life-cycle Responses."

Global Partners Capacity Building Award SETAC Global Partners Capacity-Building Award
The 2009 Global Partners Capacity-Building Award was given to Kees Van Leeuwen, Christina Cowan-Ellsberry, Phillip Jennings, and Diana Graham for organizing the Capacity-building Workshop on Ecological Risk Assessment in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in support of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).

The Capacity-Building Award, sponsored by SETAC Global Partners, was created in 2008 and is awarded annually to recognize individuals or groups for their contribution toward building capacity in the environmental sciences within countries with developing economies. The award was initiated to reflect SETAC's efforts to enhance the use of science in environmental policy and decision-making in countries where there is a need and/or where there have been requests for capacity building. Capacity building refers to a broad range of activities that might include any combination of education, professional development, training, and the development of analytical capabilities and other infrastructure that will support the principles and practices for protection, enhancement and management of sustainable environmental quality and ecosystem integrity. Emphasis is given to the promotion and the advancement and application of scientific research related to contaminants and other stressors in the environment, education in the environmental sciences, and the use of science in environmental policy and decision-making.

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