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Global Interest Groups: Ecological Risk Assessment
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Mark S. Johnson


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The Ecological Risk Assessment Interest Group provides an open forum and serves as a scientific resource to SETAC, environmental scientists and decision makers, and the society as a whole on issues pertaining to Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA). Our mission is to advance the science, use, and practice of ERA as an approach and tool to inform environmental decision making. We accomplish this mission by:

  • Serving as a neutral platform and focal point within SETAC and the larger environmental community for collaborative identification, resolution and communication of ERA issues
  • Stimulating critical evaluation and discussion to establish the best available science
  • Providing scientific guidance and support to ensure effective environmental decision making
  • Encouraging incorporation of the best available science, approaches and information into ERA practices
  • Encouraging transfer of ERA technologies among the diverse stakeholders
  • Encouraging harmonization of ERA practices worldwide
  • Providing a forum for knowledge transfer such as organizing sessions at annual meetings, organizing workshops to address scientific issues associated with the ERA, and fostering collaboration among other advisory groups or professional societies
  • Facilitating communication of ERA issues and best science through journal articles, books, web sites and other mechanisms
  • Encouraging multi-AG working groups and liaison activities


The scope of the Ecological Risk Assessment IG comprises all aspects of ecological risk assessment as a cross-discipline endeavor, and includes in its activities the fields of chemistry, toxicology, ecology, and others. With the increasing complexity of environmental management challenges and global perspective, ERA and the scope of the Interest Group (IG) have expanded to include allied sciences such as environmental economics, ecosystem services, and decision science. All environmental compartments are included within the scope of ERA and the IG.

The scope of the group at times can intersect with those of other SETAC interst groups and dialogue groups, as ERA intersects with a multitude of environmental evaluation schemes and is used to inform decisions regarding management of a range of environmental media. The Ecological Risk Assessment IG actively seeks opportunities to work with other Interest Groups to broaden the discussion and engage expects among the areas of interest. This affords opportunities for mutual support and collaboration across the advisory and dialogue groups of SETAC.


SETAC Ecological Risk Assessment Interest Group Charter


The Ecological Risk Assessment IG is lead by a chairperson and a steering committee. The IG is comprised of Work Groups. Work groups involve subsets of ERA IG members that are collectively doing work related to topics of interest to the ERA IG. The following reflect the current Work Groups within the ERA IG. For more information about the Work Groups, follow links to the appropriate pages or contact the Work Group Chairs and Co-Chairs.

Population-Level ERA Work Group
Larry Barnthouse (NA), Mary Sorensen (NA)

Spatially Explicit Exposure Models Work Group
Mark Johnson (NA), Ted Wickwire (NA), Bruce Hope (NA)

Global Climate Change and ERA Work Group
Ralph Stahl (NA), Wayne Landis (NA), Will Clements (NA)

Ecosystem Services Work Group
David Moore (NA), Ron Gouguet (NA), Wayne Munns (NA)

Solutions-Based ERA Work Group
John Toll (NA), Beth Power (NA)

Amphibian and Reptile ERA Approaches Work Group
Chris Salice (NA), Antonio Noguera (EU)

Global ERA Information Exchange Work Group
Silke Bollmohr (AF), Bin-Le Lin (Asia/Pacific)
– Antonio Nogueira (EU), John Carbone (NA)

NA North America
EU European Union
LA Latin America
AP Asia/Pacific
AF Africa

Group Pages

Steering Committee

Interest Group Liaisons

ERA IG: Poster Corner

ERA IG: Timeline

Workgroup: EXCESS

Workgroup: Solution-Focused Risk Assessment

Workshop: Glasgow

Workshop: Nashville

Workshop: Next!



Characterization of risks to ecological resources has been a fundamental and integral application of environmental science. It involves the integration of various disciplines including toxicology, chemistry, ecology within an applied framework which is relevant and applicable to make wise land use decisions. The integration of these disciplines, as well as the data needs within each, has been the foundation of research and discussion at SETAC since 1992 when the Ecological Risk Assessment Interest Group was formed. The North American IG was formally recognized by the SETAC World Council in October 2005. The IG will celebrate a 20th anniversary in 2012. During the 20 years of existence, the Ecological Risk Assessment IG has been one of the most active Interest Groups within SETAC. Its members have organized numerous Pellston Workshops, written seven books and 5 series of manuscripts associated with those workshops, conducted approximately 15 Short Courses, members have written numerous additional technical manuscripts, and co-sponsored more than 40 platform sessions, interactive poster sessions, and debates. In addition, the group has actively collaborated both within SETAC in terms of finding synergies with other Interest Groups and outside of SETAC in terms of developing bridges with other organizations, such as the Ecological Society of America. Major accomplishments are related to the establishment of the SETAC journal Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (IEAM). Although the IG alone cannot take full credit for IEAM, the influential role of the group in the development of IEAM is well understood by those involved (i.e., specifically Greg Biddinger, IG Chair from1992-2002).



  • 1993. Programs in ERA. National Science Institute and SETAC.
  • 1997. Sustainable Environmental Management. Barnthouse, Biddinger, Cooper, Fava, Gillett, Holland, and Yosie (eds).
  • 1997. Ecological Risk Assessment of Contaminated Sediments. Ingersoll, Dillon, and Biddinger (eds).
  • 1998. Uncertainty Analysis in ERA. Warren-Hicks and Moore (eds).
  • 1998. ERA Decision-Support System: A Conceptual Design. Reinert, Bartell, and Biddinger (eds).
  • 2008. Population-level ERA. Barnthouse, Munns, and Sorensen (eds).
  • 2008. Valuation of Ecological Resources: Integration of Ecology and Socioeconomics in Environmental Decision-Making. Stahl, Kapustka, Munns, and Bruins (eds).

Manuscript Series:

  • 2000. Ecosystem Vulnerability. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.
  • 2009. Nexus of ERA and Natural Resource Damage (NRD) Assessment. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (IEAM).
  • 2010. Toxicity Reference Values (TRVs). IEAM.
  • 2011. Spatially Explicit Exposure Models (SEEM). IEAM.
  • 2013. ERA and Global Climate Change (GCC). IEAM.


2012 marked the elevation of the Interest Group to a Global status, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the IG and the SETAC 6th World Congress in Berlin. The IG historically had a North American focus, yet these topics were discussed informally at the global level and many of its members have been collaborating at the global level for some time. For example, the IG’s Population-Level Ecological Risk Assessment Pellston Workshop was one of the first international workshops, with 40 scientists from 10 countries, balanced among SETAC’s three sector areas (government, industry, and academia). The formal Global status of the IG, along with a newly elected Steering Committee marks a future of new opportunities for this Interest Group.


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