Ecotoxicological modeling may be one of several lines of evidence used in the risk characterization phase of an ecological risk assessment. Here, ecotoxicological modeling essentially translates information on measures such as fecundity, survivorship, growth, and distribution of individual organisms to a population context or higher level of organization. Empirical evidence from toxicity testing, or in some cases field surveys of populations or communities, may be available for the ecological risk assessment. These data need to be weighed in the ecological risk assessment along with the results of ecotoxicological modeling. In this case, a weight-of-evidence approach can help integrate information from empirical data and ecotoxicological modeling.
The weight-of-evidence approach considers the ecological relevance of each line of evidence, its relationship to the assessment endpoint, the strength of a demonstration of an exposure-response relationship, and the strengths and weaknesses of the model (or data) (e.g., spatial and temporal scope, amount and quality of data). Thus, the results of ecotoxicological modeling should be viewed in combination with all other information being used to assess risks.
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