American Chemical Society
es7b05904_si_003.xlsx (96.27 kB)

Deriving Field-Based Ecological Risks for Bird Species

Download (96.27 kB)
posted on 2018-02-27, 00:00 authored by Renske P. J. Hoondert, Jelle P. Hilbers, A. Jan Hendriks, Mark A. J. Huijbregts
Ecological risks (ERs) of pollutants are typically assessed using species sensitivity distributions (SSDs), based on effect concentrations obtained from bioassays with unknown representativeness for field conditions. Alternatively, monitoring data relating breeding success in bird populations to egg concentrations may be used. In this study, we developed a procedure to derive SSDs for birds based on field data of egg concentrations and reproductive success. As an example, we derived field-based SSDs for p,p′-DDE and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) exposure to birds. These SSDs were used to calculate ERs for these two chemicals in the American Great Lakes and the Arctic. First, we obtained field data of p,p′-DDE and PCBs egg concentrations and reproductive success from the literature. Second, these field data were used to fit exposure-response curves along the upper boundary (right margin) of the response’s distribution (95th quantile), also called quantile regression analysis. The upper boundary is used to account for heterogeneity in reproductive success induced by other external factors. Third, the species-specific EC10/50s obtained from the field-based exposure-response curves were used to derive SSDs per chemical. Finally, the SSDs were combined with specific exposure data for both compounds in the two areas to calculate the ER. We found that the ERs of combined exposure to these two chemicals were a factor of 5–35 higher in the Great Lakes compared to Arctic regions. Uncertainty in the species-specific exposure-response curves and related SSDs was mainly caused by the limited number of field exposure-response data for bird species. With sufficient monitoring data, our method can be used to quantify field-based ecological risks for other chemicals, species groups, and regions of interest.