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Welcome to the SETAC Global Plants Interest Group (Plants IG). To joint this IG, make sure you are signed in to your SETAC account then click "Join Group” near the top of this page.


Please note the followings events during the 30th SETAC Europe Annual Meeting 2020 in Dublin

Platform Session: Aquatic and Terrestrial Plants Ecology Ecotoxicology and Risk Assessment. Wednesday  6 May, 13:55-15:30, Wicklow Hall 2A. Poster session the full day.

Plants IG Open Meeting: Wednesday  6 May, 16:00 - 17:00 Liffey Meeting Room 3

Mission and Purpose

The SETAC Plants IG provides a scientific basis for, as well as scientific guidance in all aspects of aquatic macrophyte and terrestrial plant testing in the laboratory and field; aquatic macrophyte and terrestrial plant risk assessment methodologies; and aquatic macrophyte and terrestrial plant ecotoxicology and ecology, for the benefit of the overall risk assessment of chemicals. This group provides a forum for communication, cooperation, scientific discussion and collaboration among scientists in academia, business and government.


The Plants IG serves as a platform for discussions and collaborations on the use and role of aquatic macrophytes and terrestrial plants in ecotoxicological science and regulation. Aquatic macrophytes are typically defined as autotrophic organisms that have become adapted for life wholly or partially in water, and that are large enough to be seen with the naked eye. We include in this definition macro-algae like Chara and salt-water organisms like sea-grasses and brown algae. Aquatic macrophytes cover all growth forms including emergent, floating-leaved, free-floating, and submerged forms as well as life forms like hydrophytes, amphiphytes and helophytes. The Plants IG also serves as a forum where issues related to aquatic macrophytes can be discussed, taking into account regulatory needs such as those defined in the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the revised pesticide directive (EU Directive 91/414).

Terrestrial plants are autotrophic organisms that grow on land. Their survival on land requires special adaptations to prevent them from drying out and to aid them in obtaining nutrients and in reproducing. Many terrestrial plants also have adaptations to tolerate considerable periods of submersion by flooding. Lifecycle stages of terrestrial plants can differ between species, but often include: seeds / spores, juvenile plants, adult plants and resting or overwintering stages.  In the registration process for Plant Protection Products (PPPs) in the EU under Regulation 1107/2009, a tiered approach to studies and risk assessments is recommended for non-target terrestrial plants. However, when PPPs (in particular herbicides) fail the risk assessment based on standard studies (i.e. glasshouse studies according to OECD 208 & 227) there is no guidance for higher tier options or defined studies that leads to refinements of the associated risk assessment. The tiered approach states that extended laboratory, semi-field and field studies may be conducted. However, there is little information provided on how to implement these types of studies and very little information on how to use them to refine the risk assessments. Moreover, there is currently no guidance on how to evaluate specific protection goals as defined by EFSA for terrestrial plants. Areas where more information is needed include: procedures to define the terrestrial plant risk assessment, data on the structure and functioning of non-crop plant communities, and data that could be directly used to assess the impact of PPPs on non-target communities. This interest group will address many of these issues in the near future.


The objectives of the Plants IG are:

  1. To provide information on and to discuss the current status quo regarding aquatic macrophyte and terrestrial plant testing in single species laboratory studies, multispecies laboratory studies, multispecies outdoor studies, mesocosm studies and field studies, on aquatic macrophyte and terrestrial plant risk assessment and aquatic macrophyte and terrestrial plant ecotoxicology.
  2. To provide a scientific basis for substance-specific aquatic macrophyte and terrestrial plant risk assessment (e.g. for plant protection products (EU Directive 91/414, USA FIFRA and Canadian PCPA)), biocides (EU Directive 98/8/EG and USA FIFRA), chemicals in general (REACH, USA TSCA).
  3. To provide a scientific basis for retrospective aquatic macrophyte and terrestrial plant risk assessment with emphasis on field-based approaches and multiple stress scenarios (e.g. WFD and USA Clean Water Act).
  4. To build and extend a global network of plant experts from academia, regulatory authorities and business.
  5. To provide an overview of ongoing activities and new initiatives in the subject area via the SETAC website and an email distribution list.
  6. To organize sessions (e.g. platform or poster) and short courses at the SETAC annual meetings.
  7. To organize or actively participate in expert workshops, especially in the areas of new testing methodologies and risk assessment.
  8. To build regulatory confidence in the application of new methods for testing and risk assessment and through effective communication and knowledge exchange e.g. in short courses.
  9. To be actively involved in the development of guidance on aquatic macrophyte and terrestrial plant testing and aquatic macrophyte and terrestrial plant risk assessment in support of current and future legislation.


This group was formerly called the Aquatic Macrophyte Ecotoxicology Group (AMEG), which was originally established as a global SETAC Interest Group in 2009. This change was primarily in response to identified needs in the field of terrestrial plant ecotoxicology and terrestrial plant risk assessment.


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