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Global Soils Advisory Group (GSAG)
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Aims and scope

The aim of the SETAC Soil Advisory Group (SAG) is to provide a scientific basis for, as well as scientific guidance in all aspects of soil testing on the laboratory, semi-field and field level, soil-related risk assessment methodologies and soil ecotoxicology, for the benefit of the overall risk assessment of chemicals (single and mixtures) and of contaminated soil in general. In addition, non-chemical soil stressors such as compaction or climatic change will be covered. These activities will be based on a sound ecological basis.

The group will accomplish these goals by being a forum for communication, cooperation, scientific discussion and collaboration among scientists in academia, business and government. The Soil Advisory Group aims to be the focus of expertise for material behavior and interactions with soil organisms within SETAC. The scope of the group includes all contaminants that are present in terrestrial soils and organisms that may be directly or indirectly affected by them. The group addresses both understanding of fate and effects as well as measurement and testing methods.

Activities include sponsoring and conducting sessions at the annual meetings, collaboration with other advisory groups, and invitations to participate in research studies conducted by members.


The Soil Advisory Group’s main objectives are to promote sound scientific methods for material fate and ecotoxicology applied to soil systems and to create a network of experts in this field. Topics of interest to the group include:

  • Soil Ecotoxicology
  • Biodiversity
  • Ecological relevance for site specific risk assessment
  • Nanomaterials: analysis, environmental fate, effects, LCA and risk assessment, and
  • Interactions between natural and chemical stressors.


Historically, soil ecotoxicology has not been sufficiently represented within SETAC. Therefore, groups of soil ecotoxicologists have met regularly in North America (NA; since 1998) and Europe (EU; since 2004), usually during the regional conferences in order to provide a forum for an exchange of information about ongoing activities in the field of soil ecotoxicology. In the meeting of the EU Soil Advisory Group (SAG) during the SETAC Europe conference in May 2009, it was proposed to form one global SETAC SAG. This merger was approved in late 2009.


The AG network includes nearly 200 members. The activities of the advisory group are led by a chair and co-chair and coordinated by a steering committee. Members of the Steering Committee are appointed by vote of the SAG group members

Current Steering Committee

Currently, the following scientists have agreed to be a member of the founding global Advisory Group Steering Committee:
Monica Amorim, Aveiro, PT
Kees van Gestel, Amsterdam, NL
Fred Heimbach, Rifcon, DE
Jörg Römbke, ECT GmbH, DE
Juliska Princz, Env. Canada, CA
Mike Simini, US Army, US.
Ping Gong, US Army, US.

How to become a member of the AG

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

Activities and deliverables

Deliverables resulting from activities coordinated and supervised by SAG could include:

  • ring-tested (round robin) protocols for new test species;
  • draft test guidelines for soil organisms not covered so far in testing schemes;
  • proposals for use of assessment approaches such as Terrestrial Model Ecosystems (TMEs) as a higher tier tool for the purpose of refined risk assessments (see PERAS).

Long-term deliverables:

  • recommendations for Higher Tier studies with soil organisms, including the assessment of recovery;
  • recommendations for new tests or test strategies, especially in non-temperate regions;
  • linking lab to field with field based monitoring or assessments;

A deliverable focusing on retrospective risk assessment focusing on contaminated land (e.g. abandoned mining areas) is also possible in the future.

Provide a description of both short-term involvement in various forums/meetings and longer term interests/planned activities of the AG.