Trait-based ecological risk assessment (TERA): The new frontier?

Authors

  • Donald J Baird,

    1. Environment Canada, Canadian Rivers Institute, Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick, 10 Bailey Drive, PO Box, 10 Bailey Drive, PO Box 45111, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 6E1, Canada
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  • Mascha N Rubach,

    1. Alterra, Wageningen University and Research Centre, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
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  • Paul J Van den Brinkt

    1. Alterra, Wageningen University and Research Centre, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
    2. Department of Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management, Wageningen University, PO Box 8080, 6700 DD Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Abstract

Traits describe the physical characteristics, ecological niche, and functional role of species within ecosystems, and trait-based approaches are now being introduced into the field of Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA). The costs and benefits arising from the adoption of these approaches in the assessment of risks from toxic substances are described, and the path forward for this new frontier in risk assessment science is presented. In particular, the necessity for more open collaboration and web-based data-sharing to facilitate the development of these exciting new tools is stressed, and the role of scientific organizations such as SETAC as promoters of this ambitious program is highlighted.

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