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Plants Advisory Group (AMEG)
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Aims and scope

The SETAC Advisory Group AMEG (Aquatic Macrophyte Ecotoxicology Group) was established in June 2009 to provide guidance on all aspects of aquatic macrophyte testing in the laboratory and field as well as the use of macrophyte data in the risk assessment of chemicals. The group will accomplish these goals by being a forum for communication, co-operation, scientific discussion and collaboration between scientists in academia, business and government.

Within AMEG, we consider aquatic macrophytes to be all freshwater higher plants (including emergent, floating-leaved, free-floating and submerged forms or hydrophytes, amphiphytes and helophytes) but also macro-algae like Chara and salt-water plants like sea-grasses and other macroalgae like brown algae.


The objectives of AMEG are to provide:

Scientific advice

  • to provide a scientific basis for aquatic macrophyte testing and risk assessment including plant protection products, biocides and chemicals in general (e.g. EU, US and Canadian directives)
  • to provide a scientific basis for the use of aquatic macrophyte data in retrospective risk assessment (e.g. European Water Framework Directive and USA Clean Water Act)

Practical guidance

  • to be actively involved in the development of guidance on aquatic macrophyte testing and aquatic macrophyte risk assessment in support of current and future legislation

Communication and education

  • to build and extend a global network of macrophyte experts from academia, business and government
  • to provide an overview of ongoing activities and new initiatives in the subject area via the SETAC website and an email distribution list
  • to organize sessions (e.g. platform or poster) and short courses at SETAC meetings
  • to organize and actively participate in expert workshops


The SETAC Europe Workshop "Aquatic Macrophyte Risk Assessment for Pesticides” (AMRAP) took place in Wageningen (NL) in January 2008 and was attended by 41 macrophyte experts from academia, regulatory authorities and business from Europe and North America. The aim of the workshop was to provide recommendations for the use and interpretation of non-target aquatic macrophyte (higher plant) data in the risk assessment of plant protection products in Europe. During the workshop, an overview of the current European regulatory framework for the risk assessment of aquatic macrophytes was given and the uncertainties and areas for improvement within the regulatory framework were identified. Based on a discussion on the current state of the science of aquatic macrophyte testing, the extent to which existing methods could be used to address the uncertainties in the risk assessment, as well as recommendations for improving aquatic macrophyte testing methodologies and risk assessment were made.

Four working groups evolved from this workshop, who have been working on the following issues:

  1. A proposal for a modified aquatic macrophyte Tier 1 Risk Assessment scheme for Plant Protection Products in the EU including criteria when an additional macrophyte has to be tested (finished)
  2. Development of draft protocol for a laboratory toxicity test with Myriophyllum, to be pré-tested in 2009 and ring-tested in 2010;
  3. An overview of laboratory test methods for aquatic macrophytes other than Lemna
  4. Proposals for species sensitivity distributions (SSDs) with aquatic macrophyte data.

The discussions and conclusions of the AMRAP Workshop have been prepared for publication as a SETAC Guidance Document (Maltby et al. (eds.), in press). This document includes a summary of the working group activities to date.

The SETAC Advisory Group on Aquatic Macrophyte Ecotoxicology was established as a platform to facilitate the ongoing discussions and aid the future dissemination of results of these work groups. In addition, the Advisory Group will enable consideration of risk assessment issues related to aquatic macrophytes outside the original focus of the AMRAP workshop, i.e. registration of plant protection products in Europe.


AMEG is a global Advisory Group open to all interested scientists or students. AMEG is led and organized by a chair and a co-chair from different SETAC Geographic Units. Currently, the chair (Gertie Arts) and co-chair (Mark Hanson) are from Europe and North America, respectively. The chair and co-chair are supported by a Steering Committee (SC) comprised of chairs of working groups and other SC members with specific tasks (12 SC members in total). Members of the Steering Committee are evenly distributed over the three stakeholder groups. The SC will initiate specific activities to include representatives of Africa, Asia/Pacific and Latin America into the Advisory Group and the Steering Committee.

The AMEG SOP gives more details of the rules to be applied for renewal of Steering Committee, Chair and Co-chair.

Steering Committee 2011

Gertie Arts (Alterra, NL)
Mark Hanson (University of Manitoba, CA)
Udo Hommen (Fraunhofer IME, DE)
Chris Wilson (University of Florida, US)

Jo Davies (Syngenta, UK)
Margit Dollinger (Bayer CropScience, DE)
Jeff Giddings (Compliance Services International, US)
Stefania Loutseti (Dupont De Nemour, GR)

Katja Knauer (Federal Office for Agriculture, CH)
Silvia Mohr (Federal Environment Agency, DE)
Veronique Poulsen (Agency for Food, Environment and Occupational Health,FR)

How to become a member of AMEG

SETAC members and non-members can become a member of the AG by expressing their interest on their SETAC profile. This will enable access to the forum for the AMEG AG on the SETAC communities site. Instructions can be found HERE

Activities and outcomes

You can become involved in AMEG during the coming SETAC Meetings. Presentations on AMEG objectives and activities will be given at these conferences.

Short-term deliverables resulting from the AMRAP’s follow-up activities that are co-ordinated and supervised by AMEG include:

  • ring-tested protocol for Myriophyllum
  • guidelines for aquatic macrophyte species and aquatic macrophyte testing other than Lemna
  • proposals for use of species sensitivity distributions (SSDs) with aquatic macrophytes as a higher tier tool for the purpose of refined risk assessments

Topics for long-term activities of AMEG may include:

  • conduction and evaluation of mesocosm studies with macrophytes, including the assessment of recovery
  • recommendations for emergent plant tests
  • assessment and evaluation of macrophyte recovery in laboratory and (semi-field) tests
  • linking lab to field with field based monitoring or assessments
  • retrospective aquatic macrophyte risk assessment in the context of e.g. the WFD or the Clean Water Act
  • the use of aquatic macrophytes for bioremediation and their restoration in impacted habitats
  • sustainable management of aquatic macrophytes (e.g. exotic species, pests)