Scope, Operating Guidelines and Purpose
November 2011 ~
As Sparling (2010) observed, compared to the nearly three decades preceding
2000, considerable progress has been made in developing new information on the
ecotoxicology of amphibians and reptiles over the past few years. Since
2000 total publications in both vertebrate classes have exceeded those
appearing in the interval from 1972 to 2000 reviewed earlier by Sparling et al.
(2000). For the most part, however, the increase in publications stems from the
expanded interest in ecotoxicology of amphibians, as indicated by the increased
research activity focused on the contaminant ecology of amphibians. Gains have
been made in certain areas of amphibian and reptile ecotoxicology during the last
few years; for example, research findings related to the effects of
contaminants on reptiles have increased in numbers, although the number of
papers that are published annually on contaminants and reptiles remains very
meager. In contrast to the increased numbers of contaminant-related papers
focused on amphibians, there has been no comparable surge in work linked to the
ecotoxicology of reptiles.
Much more work must be done to expand our understanding of contaminant
effects on amphibians and reptiles, especially the latter. For example,
Sparling (2010) encourages that we expand our efforts beyond collection of
contaminant residue data for reptiles, which has largely been the historic
focus reflected in the data available on body burdens or residues of persistent
organics and metals/metalloids. More information on the effects of contaminants
on reptiles must be gained, including development of laboratory studies to take
a retrospective look and determine if the reported burdens could have been
detrimental to individuals or populations. Additional research on the
interaction between chemicals with other stressors is of equal importance.
Environmental chemicals will likely exert negative effects expressed in
populations in subtle ways in consort with disease, predation, competition and
food availability. Similarly, development of biomarkers needs to be further
developed in both vertebrate classes. Indeed, the list of research needs is
long and the efforts of a few researchers to cover these needs is challenging.
Introduction to SETAC
SETAC (www.setac.org) is a non-profit
professional society founded to promote the use of multi–disciplinary
approaches in the study of environmental issues. SETAC represents nearly
5000 environmental toxicologists, chemists, risk assessors, and engineers
worldwide. The Society was founded on the principle that it is important
to have a membership comprised of equal representation of persons from
academia, industry, NGOs, and government agencies. SETAC members are
involved in diverse areas, such as education, research, environmental
management, manufacturing and distribution of products in commerce, and
Science Advisory groups
The establishment of Advisory groups is based on defined needs with regard
to a specified topic.They have open-ended time frames of operation, are
relatively broad in scope, and will manage processes to advance the science and
application of a specific topic. The group should intend to be recognized as an
authoritative expert in its field.
The scope of Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles Advisory Group
(EARAG) focuses on the range of issues identified in the literature, e.g.,
Sparling et al (2000, 2010), that concern amphibians and reptiles, and the role
that chemical exposures have played and will continue to play in shaping their
life on earth. Scientific coverage of EARAG includes all fields pertinent
to the study of amphibians and reptiles, including the effective environmental
risk assessment and management of species occurring in a wide range of habitats
worldwide. Collaboration with other SETAC advisory groups will be encouraged,
and through its broad membership and EARAGwill strive for cooperation and
information exchange with international organizations to establish strong links
that assure multi- and interdisciplinary approaches to improved
characterization of the ecology and toxicology of amphibians and reptiles.
Mission and Purpose
Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles Advisory Group exists to serve as a
scientific resource to all stakeholders interested in the ecotoxicology of
amphibians and reptiles, and will strive towards the following mission and
- Serve as a focal point within SETAC as a means
of involving the membership in research and discussions.
- Stimulate critical assessment in order to
establish the best available science.
- Encourage the worldwide incorporation of the
best available science and strategic approaches.
- Advance overall understanding of the role that
chemicals play in maintaining sustainable populations of amphibians and
- Provide scientific support to facilitate
effective regulatory decision making.
- Provide a neutral forum and focal point for
collaborative identification, evaluation, and resolution of scientific issues.
- Provide a forum for organizing sessions at
annual meetings and organizing workshops to address scientific issues
associated with the ecotoxicology of amphibians and reptiles.
- Provide a mechanism to publish journal articles
and books associated with the ecotoxicology of amphibians and reptiles.
Roles and Responsibilities of
Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles Advisory Group
To achieve its mission and purpose, the activities of Ecotoxicology of
Amphibians and Reptiles Advisory Group can include:
- The organization of temporary "projects” in
order to extensively elaborate on a specific task suggested from interested
parties within or outside of the group.
- Preparation of technical papers (general
information, issue specific)
- Developing a specific area of the SETAC web site
- Developing an active presence in the SETAC
- Holding targeted (subject-specific) discussion
groups at annual meetings or workshops.
- Implementing short courses, for example in
advance of either SETAC or other conferences.
- Presentations to government agencies.
- Publishing news and information in the SETAC
- Publishing papers in the SETAC journals or in
- Providing educational materials for the public
and school systems.
- Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles
Advisory Group is a consensus-based group, and uses a consensus-based
- By linking SETAC and other herpetological
organizations worldwide, EARAG will be aware of and foster discussions that
take place in SETAC and the scientific community overall, as well as combining
expertise and experience from various organizations. The links will be
established primarily by personal interaction and exchange of documents.
It is anticipated that there will be liaisons and interactions with government
and non-government organizations interested in amphibians and reptiles,
particularly the role that chemical-biota interactions play in maintaining
sustainable populations of these animals worldwide.
- An effort will be made to maintain an equal
balance on the EARAG among academia, government, business (industry and
consulting), and non-profit or private sectors.
- The EARAG plans to hold meetings during the
SETAC North America Annual Meeting, the SETAC Europe Annual Meeting, the SETAC
Latin America Annual meeting, and at the World Congress events.
- EARAG encourages the volunteer nature of SETAC.
SETAC believes that, in order to progress, it is important to have individuals
present at meetings. As such, SETAC recognizes that individuals occasionally
might need to obtain subsistence on a case-by-case basis. Approval of such will
be granted on a need basis subject to funds being available and granted by the
- The community forum will be considered for
communication among members, exchange of documents and discussion of current
topics of interest to EARAG.
- The steering committee for the EARAG will
establish ground rules to address how the steering committee and full AG work
together. The EARAG steering committee and EARAG itself agree to work together
in the following manner in order to accomplish the EARAG mission and purpose:
Respect for People
- Listen fully
- Test your understanding of assumptions
- Problem solve together
- Be tolerant of each other's perspective
- Be open, honest, and candid
- Respect confidentiality
- Be mindful of the complexities presented by
- Work to be inclusive of the full membership
- Utilize a written agenda (old business, new
business, ongoing business)
- Start and end meetings on time
- Come to meetings prepared - review pre-meeting
- Publish minutes as soon as possible following
- Stay focused on the topic
- Utilize a reminder system to return to issues
- Do not over promise and under produce
- Follow through on meeting action items
Decision Making: Use consensus as the primary decision-making approach
- Test for consensus before moving ahead with the
- Manage challenges consistently. Use the
- Identify the issues
- Identify and verify the basis of any conflicts
- External consultation and independent assessment
- Focus on the science to seek consensus
- External review and appraisal
- In cases where consensus cannot be achieved,
clearly indicate the issue and outcome in the minutes
Funding for the various activities during the SETAC conferences is through
SETAC, which is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. EARAG, under the auspices
of the SETAC world council, will manage its funds.
The SETAC World Council will provide regular review to evaluate the
effectiveness and performance of the EARAG, including the Steering Committee
structure and activities and, if necessary, will offer guidance to ensure
compliance with established policy.
Through meeting minutes, annual reports, and face to face meetings,
Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles Advisory Group will regularly report
the activities of the EARAG to the SETAC World Council, other SETAC AGs, and
other professional/amateur societies.
The Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles Advisory Group reports to the
SETAC World Council through the Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles
Advisory Group Steering Committee. The Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles
Advisory Group is committed to advancing the purposes of SETAC while fulfilling
its primary mission and purpose.
Program, task forces, and working committees
Specific activities such as workshops, conferences, and educational
materials or "white” papers undertaken by the Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and
Reptiles Advisory Group are approved by the SETAC World Council. The SETAC NA
and/or Europe Offices serve as a coordinators and disseminators of AG
The Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles Advisory Group may, as needed,
solicit assistance from various SETAC committees to help EARAG
activities. For example, technical activities are conducted through
the SETAC Science Committee, educational activities through the SETAC Education
Committee, and publication and dissemination of technical information through
the SETAC Publication Advisory Council.
Any individual who conforms to the scope, purpose, and operating guidelines
in good standing may be a member of Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles
Advisory Group. EARAG may accept individuals who are not members of SETAC as
long as they do not form part of the steering committee (see SETAC By-Laws).
Membership in the Steering Committee is intended to achieve balance and will
follow the basic SETAC guidelines, and will strive to maintain representation
from academia, industry, government, and non-profit organizations. The Steering
Committee will be comprised of no less than six and no more than fifteen
individuals. Balanced representation from the various SETAC geographic
units should be made to the extent possible. Individuals selected to the
Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles Advisory Group Steering Committee must
be SETAC members in good standing.
The SETAC Executive Director or designee will serve as an ex officio member of the Ecotoxicology of
Amphibians and Reptiles Advisory Group.
The President of the SETAC World Council, based on the recommendation from
Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles Advisory Groupmembers,
appoints the chair of the EARAG Steering Committee from among the Steering
Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles Advisory Group Steering Committee
members will serve two-year terms.Any steering committee member can serve
only for two consecutive terms, after the term of the founding EARAG Steering
The founding Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles Advisory Group Steering
Committee will serve a two-year term starting in May 2011. At the end of two
years, the founding Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles Advisory Group
Steering Committee will begin to stagger their leaving the EARAG Steering
Committee to ensure a turnover of approximately one-third members per year.
When new members are to be appointed to the Steering Committee, the SETAC
office will announce the vacancy at least four (4) months prior to the
appointment date. Anyone who fits (1) sector category (academia, industry, NGO,
government), (2) has institutional or personal support, (3) has expertise or
interest in herpetology environmental issues, and (4) has a commitment to the
mission and operating guidelines of the Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles
Advisory Group can express their interest in being considered for appointment
to the EARAG Steering Committee. A name must be placed into consideration at
least one (1) month prior to the appointment of new members.
In instances where a Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles Advisory Group
steering committee member must leave before completing his/her term, and when
there are more than six months remaining in the term, the EARAG Steering
Committee will identify individuals from the departing member’s sector to
fulfill the term. Individuals will be identified to the EARAG steering
committee at least two weeks prior to the appointment of the replacement.
An annual budget will be prepared by EARAG. This budget will be submitted
for inclusion in the overall annual budget for SETAC.
Program, task forces, and working committees
The SETAC Office serves as a coordinator of AG activities while
Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles Advisory Group-related activities
specific to other organizations (e.g., professional/amateur herpetological
societies) will be coordinated by those organizations, in communication with
SETAC. SETAC and collaborating organizations will disseminate EARAG activities
in their respective newsletters, as those outlets are available.
Roles and Responsibilities of the Ecotoxicology of
Amphibians and Reptiles Advisory Group Steering Committee Members
- Identify and
utilize opportunities to advance the EARAG ’s mission and purpose through
generating ideas, making decisions, and taking action
- Aspire to
establish the EARAG as being recognized and sought as an authoritative
- Communicate with
external thought leaders and decision makers to advance the effectiveness
of the EARAG
- Monitor progress
in achieving the EARAG scientific objectives and elevate scientific
performance as needed
- Monitor and
elevate the performance of the EARAG in order to identify areas that need
- Ensure the EARAG
operating principles are consistently applied
- Report to the
SETAC World Council at least annually on EARAG activities and plans
- Coordinate with
and/or inform the SETAC offices regarding all Group activities
Sparling, D.W., Linder, G., Bishop, C., and Krest, S. 2010. Ecotoxicology of
Amphibians and Reptiles. Second Edition. SETAC/Taylor & Francis. Boca
Sparling, D.W., Linder, G., and Bishop, C. 2000. Ecotoxicology of Amphibians
and Reptiles. SETAC Press. Pensacola, FL.