SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
  13 September 2012
Volume 13 Issue 9

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Why Wouldn’t You Join a SETAC Advisory Group?

Ruth Hull, Intrinsik Environmental Sciences

SETAC has fourteen global advisory groups (AGs), three focused in North America, and six in Europe. In the July issue of the Globe, we introduced you to two North American AGs (Chemistry and Human Health Risk Assessment) and three Global AGs (Metals, Ecological Risk Assessment and Sustainability). This month, we’ll describe three European AGs (Mechanistic Effect Models, Environmental Monitoring, Extreme Stress Events and Ecosystem Recovery), one more Global AG (Exposure Modeling), and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which has AGs in Europe and North America and a Global coordination group.

With such diversity in topics, when you are part of an AG you might find yourself advancing the science in a particular area while also building another great networking opportunity within SETAC! Then again, you may just want to find out more about an issue and how the experts are grappling with common scientific challenges. Regardless, being part of an AG gives you the chance to participate in special sessions or networking events at the annual meeting, focused workshops, online exchanges, or contribute to books or journal articles. So, why don’t you join?

As a SETAC member you may join any AG, whether regional or global, by expressing interest in your SETAC profile. Simply log in at with your user name (email address) and password (membership number). Once you are signed in as a member to the new website, select the left side navigation menu labeled Get Involved. Choose your group and click "Join Group" near the top of the page. Remember, you have to be signed in as a member to see the "Join Group" button. All persons with an interest in an AG are encouraged to participate. If you require any assistance, contact the SETAC office at

The Mechanistic Effect Models for Ecological Risk Assessment of Chemicals AG (MeMoRisk) explores and evaluates the benefits of mechanistic effect modeling for the risk assessment of chemicals in Europe. The group deals with models to analyze and predict effects of chemicals on organisms, populations, communities and ecosystems in aquatic, soil and terrestrial environments. The term ecological modeling is avoided here, because it is often used for population, community, food-web and ecosystem models, but the group does also consider models to describe and predict effects on the level of the single organism (e.g., toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic models [TK/TD], dynamic-energy-budget models [DEB], and biotic-ligand models [BLM]). Empirical statistical models (e.g., dose–response functions, species-sensitivity distributions, multivariate models of community structure) and QSARs are not the focus of this group. Currently, MeMoRisk is organizing a two-part technical SETAC workshop MODELINK, which will take place in autumn 2012 and spring 2013. The general aim of the MODELINK workshop is to provide guidance for when and how to apply ecological models to regulatory risk assessments. Although a European advisory group, new members from all geographic regions are welcome to participate. Contact Thomas Preuss or Udo Hommen for more details or visit

The Environmental Monitoring Advisory Group on Pesticides (EMAG-Pest) develops guidance on good monitoring practice dealing with adverse effects of pesticides on the environment. This answers to an increasing need for monitoring and post-registration studies throughout Europe, in the context of the decision-making process for Regulation 1107/2009/EC concerning the placement of plant protection products on the market. EMAG-Pest activities cover the development of monitoring methodologies robust enough to feed risk assessment models supporting decision making, or even helping to identify efficient indicators of the quality of the environment. A particular emphasis is given to links with MeMoRisk, with the aim to identify the approaches that may generate reliable monitoring data, for model parameterization and extrapolation purposes. Expected outcomes are to provide recommendations on how monitoring studies may be used in risk assessment and management and guidance on how to perform suitable monitoring and evaluation of data for regulatory purposes in the following four areas:

  1. Groundwater quality
  2. Aquatic organisms
  3. Terrestrial vertebrates
  4. Terrestrial invertebrates and plants

For further information contact Anne Alix and Martin Streloke and consult

Extreme Stress Events and Ecosystem Recovery (Excess) is a new European AG formed to address the effects of extreme stress on ecosystems and subsequent recovery. Predicting how ecosystems respond to—and recover from—chemical accidents is complex and requires expertise in a variety of ecotoxicological disciplines. Excess wants to assemble this expertise in order to synthesize the available knowledge into scientifically defendable assessments. Apart from being a platform for scientific discussion and collaboration, Excess will also serve as a communication channel to improve the exchange between a) stakeholder needs and expectations and b) the capacities and goals of quantitative ecotoxicological approaches that encompass higher levels of biological organization. All interested parties, regardless of methodological background (e.g., statistical and mechanistic modeling, biological and chemical monitoring techniques, micro- and mesocosm testing) are encouraged to join us in this effort to better understand how ecosystems respond to and recover from extreme stress events. For further information contact Frederik De Laender.

The Exposure Modeling AG (EMAG) provides a collegial home for those interested in modeling the properties, sources, environmental fate and exposure issues related to environmental pollutants. EMAG encourages the scientific development of quantitative models to describe the behavior and exposure pathways of chemical, biological and physical contaminants in the environment and for human and ecological populations. It also encourages the development of a sound data-basis to support the application of models in scientific studies and policy-making activities for chemicals, biological agents and nanomaterials of environmental interest. Specific issues include assessment of:

  1. Physical properties and degradation rates
  2. Emissions inventories
  3. Monitoring data for environmental media (air, water, soil, sediments and vegetation) and biota from locations near areas of use and release and at remote, background sites.

EMAG also encourages and supports the use of scientifically sound models by decision-makers to formulate effective management of chemicals, biological agents and nanomaterials, and by scientists to more effectively interpret monitoring data on contaminant concentrations in the environment. In March 2012, a scientific paper on good modeling practices authored by EMAG members was published online in IEAM. Currently EMAG is addressing topics such as sensitivity and uncertainty analysis in environmental modeling as well as chemical pollution and planetary boundaries. Contact Justin Birdwell or Louis Thibodeaux for more details or visit

LCA is addressed by both a North American and a European AG, and there is a Global LCA coordination group as well. The mission of the SETAC LCA AGs is to advance the science, practice and application of LCAs to reduce the resource consumption and environmental burdens associated with products, packaging, processes or activities. To achieve this mission, the AGs serve as a focal point to provide a broad-based forum for the identification, resolution and communication of issues regarding LCAs; and to facilitate, coordinate and provide guidance for the development, implementation and communication of LCA and its use. The global coordination group ensures the North American and European LCA communities interact and that there is a voice for LCA experts from all geographic units on LCA topics at the global level. The group specifically coordinates LCA topics as a direct interface with the Board of the International Life Cycle Initiative from UNEP and SETAC. It also coordinates the liaison with Subcommittee 5 (LCA) of the ISO Technical Committee 207. The North American LCA AG is currently organizing a series of life cycle impact assessment workshops that will initially be meeting during SETAC annual meetings (e.g., Long Beach, Glasgow). For information about the North American LCA AG, please contact Jane Bare. A chemical footprinting work group has been established in the European LCA AG. For information about the European LCA AG, please contact Christian Bauer. For information about the Global LCA coordination group, please contact Nydia Suppen Reynagasof.

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