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Europe Interest Groups: Effect Modeling
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26.03.2020: We have two new Steering Committee members from government now: Sabine Duquesne, UBA, DE and Vanessa Mazerolles, ANSES, FR. Welcome!

Infos on the Virtual SETAC Europe Annual Meeting regarding the session on effect modelling and activities of  the IG will will follow soon.

24.01.2020: The SETAC meeting in Dublin is approaching soon. Check the program for the  session 'Effect Modelling for Regulatory Environmental Risk Assessment: Current Applications and Future Directions' and the open meeting of the Effect Modelling. Dates will be announced soon.

Check also the modelling events on Sunday: There are two courses on GUTS and also a hackathon.

24.01.2020: Changes in the Steering Committee: Many thanks to Anna-Maija Nyman and Veronique Poulsen for their work in the SC over the last years. Congratulations to Alpar Barsi as the new co-chair. The missing two SC members from government will be elected soon.


The general aim of the Effect Modelling Interest Group (formerly: Mechanistic Effect Models for Ecological Risk Assessment of Chemicals; MeMoRisk) is to explore and evaluate the benefit of mechanistic effect modeling for the risk assessment of chemicals in Europe. This will be done by establishing a forum for better communication and cooperation of scientists in academia, business and government working on or with mechanistic modelling to analyse and predict effects of chemicals on organisms, populations and communities.

The group will deal with models to analyse and predict effects of chemicals on organisms, populations, communities and ecosystems in aquatic, soil and terrestrial environments. The term "ecological modeling” is avoided here, because it is often used for population, community, food web and ecosystem models, but the group will also consider models to describe and predict effects on the level of the single organism, e.g., toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic models (TK/TD), dynamic energy budget models (DEB), biotic ligand models (BLM).

Empirical statistical models (e.g., dose-response functions, species sensitivity distributions, multivariate models of community structure) and QSARs will not be the focus of the group.


  • to promote the use of mechanistic effect models, and facilitate communication, amongst modellers, regulators and risk assessors. This includes both informing modellers about the needs of the regulatory process and encouraging the regulators to be explicit about what they need to know;
  • to build a network of people developing, using and evaluating such models for the risk assessment of chemicals in Europe;
  • to provide an overview on ongoing activities in the area via the website and an e-mail distribution list;
  • to provide information on public data sources, models, and modelling tools;
  • to develop an online glossary on related terms (SETAC Forum / SETAC Wikipedia);
  • to organize session(s) at the SETAC Europe annual meetings;
  • to organize SETAC short courses on mechanistic effect models if possible;
  • to organize (alone or as one partner) or actively participate in expert workshops;
  • to organize or participate in workshops to teach modelling, model use and model evaluation;
  • to communicate with related Europe and World AGs, e.g., on bioaccumulation, ecological risk assessment, exposure modelling;
  • to be actively involved in the development of guidance documents on the use of modelling in ecological risk assessment in support of European legislation.


Mechanistic effect models have been applied to ecotoxicological questions for over 25 years now. However, their use in regulatory risk assessment has been very limited over the years. Their importance seems to be increasing as has been stated especially in the risk assessment of pesticides under the European Directive 91/414: modelling was mentioned as a valuable higher tier tool in the SETAC workshops AMPERE on mesocosm tests (2007) and AMRAP on macrophyte testing (2008). The ELINK workshop (2007) focused on the problem of extrapolation from usually simple exposure patterns in ecotoxicological tests to the complex exposure scenarios predicted by the exposure models used now. In the ELINK working group on tools for extrapolation, different types of models are discussed for the potential use to solve this problem. Finally, the LEMTOX workshop (2007) was organised especially to bring together international experts from Europe, Japan and North America to discuss pros and cons of ecological (here usually population) models for pesticide risk assessment.

Recent reviews have investigated the state of the art and pointed out the need for standardisation of model approaches. This requires concerted actions with all stakeholders involved.

Nevertheless, the use of such models is not restricted to pesticides and the following main application areas are generally seen in the framework of the European regulation of chemicals (plant protection products, biocides, pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals):

  1. clarify ecological relevance of observed effects (usually on the level of individuals) in standard laboratory tests to the population level (e.g., relevance of effects on the reproduction of fish for the population level);
  2. extrapolation of effects from a tested exposure to other, untested exposure patterns (e.g., from the tested one-peak exposure in a mesocosm to the multiple peak exposure in the field due to multiple drift, run-off and drainage entries);
  3. extrapolating recovery processes (e.g., from intrinsic recovery tested in a mesocosm study to recovery including recolonisation in an agricultural landscape or from observed effects and recovery of species experimentally tested to effects and recovery of untested species with different life cycle types);
  4. analysis and prediction of possible indirect effects in communities (by the use of dynamic community or ecosystem models).


The Effect Modelling Interest Group is open to any interested scientists and students. SETAC membership is not required, but may facilitate access to SETAC scientific activities (e.g., short-courses, symposia) at preferential rates. The organization of the work is done by a steering committee (SC) of up to 12 people from academia, industry and regulation.

If you are interested, click the "Join Group" button near the top of this page to become a member. Please note, you must be signed in to join this group.

Working groups

In the moment there are two active groups in our IGs working on specific issues. Working groups are open groups and initiatives for other groups are welcome.

The MAD Group

The 'Model Acceptability, version control and scenario Development' (MAD) working group aims to create a communication forum that allows exchanging of information and critical discussions on the pathway to evaluate the acceptability of effect models for regulatory risk assessment of pesticides. This includes discussions of processes, institutional aspects, criteria for and aspects of model acceptability (e.g. scientific fit for purpose, regulatory & ecological scenarios, software), and the organisation of workshops and meetings. Decisions on the acceptability of specific models are explicitly not within the scope of this WG.

Group homepage

Chair: Andreas Focks

The Lemna Group

The aim of the Lemna model working group is to provide a refined model description and implementation of the TK-TD growth model of Lemna sp. published by Schmitt et al. (2013), which can be used directly for higher tier assessments or which can serve as a reference for other implementations. Thus, the first objectives are to agree on a description of the model equations and a default parameter set for the growth model, to provide and open access implementation (in R), and an example data set for model calibration. Further on, the group will recommend how the TK-TD model should be calibrated, validated and applied in risk assessment. Potential extensions of the model can also be discussed.

Chair: Simon Heine

Steering Committee

Status Jan 2020 (A = Academia, B = Business, G = Government):

  • Roman Ashauer (Chair; B; Syngenta, UK)
  • Alpar Barsi (Co-chair; G; Ctgb, Netherlands)
  • Yannick Bayona (B; L' Oreal, France)
  • Sabine Duquesne (G, UBA, Germany)
  • Andreas Focks (A; Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands)
  • Udo Hommen (Homepage admin; A; Fraunhofer IME, Germany)
  • Alessio Ippolito (G; EFSA, EU)
  • Josef Koch (A; Ghent University, Belgium)
  • Frederik de Laender (A; Universite de Namur, Belgium)
  • Vanessa Mazerolles (G, ANSES, France)
  • Thomas Preuss (B; Bayer, Germany)
  • Kim Rakel (B; gaiac, Germany)
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Shelly Walther joined the group Europe Interest Groups: Effect Modeling.
Posted Thursday, September 24, 2020
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