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Keywords:

  • Ecotoxicology;
  • ECx;
  • Hypothesis testing;
  • NOEC;
  • Regression analysis;
  • Statistics

Abstract

Challenges to the use of the no observed effect concentration (NOEC) in ecotoxicology have appeared over the years, with a recent call for banning its use in favor of the x% effects concentration (ECx). This article presents an opposing view, providing reasons for the continued use of the NOEC, and for hypothesis testing in general. Although the use of ECx values is appropriate in many situations, there are numerous real-world examples where it is not suitable and offers no advantage over the use of hypothesis testing. These examples are presented with recommended data analysis techniques, illustrating the variety of statistical approaches that are meaningful in analyzing ecotoxicity data. Thoughtful consideration of study design and proper analysis and interpretation of the results will go further to advance the science of ecotoxicology than attempting to implement a blanket prohibition or endorsement of any single statistical approach. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2013; 9: 12–16. © 2012 SETAC