Potentiating response

A stressor which on its own will not trigger any response may in the presence of another stressor augment the response of the other to produce a response exceeding that of the sum of the two individual responses (0 + 2 = 4). Potentiating response is frequently used interchangeably with 'synergism', which describes a greater-than-additive effect, but here the former definition will be adopted. Risk assessment is presently conducted separately on individual stressors; this approach assumes that one risk does not interact with another. The interactive effects ignored are of particular significance in ecological risk assessment where multiple endpoints are frequently encountered and thus could be a major source of error.

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