03 Aug 2023

SETAC Plants Interest Group at the SETAC Europe 33rd Annual Meeting in Dublin

David Olszyk, USEPA; Rena Isemer, Bayer AG; Guido Gonsior, GG Biotech Design; Elisabeth Gross, Université de Lorraine; Valeska Contardo Jara, Umweltbundesamt

Plants are key structural and functional components of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, linking food webs and biogeochemical cycles. These important parts of our environment are threatened by climate change, increased agricultural land use, and urban and industrial pollutants. Adequate protection of plant communities from adverse impacts of chemicals and other man-made stressors must be ensured via appropriate risk assessment schemes and test methods, as well as modeling approaches. Accordingly, the session “Aquatic and Terrestrial Plant Ecology, Ecotoxicology and Risk Assessment” was held at the SETAC Europe 33nd Annual Meeting in Dublin, Ireland. The session was organized by the SETAC Plants Interest Group (IG) and focused on improving research approaches for assessments, testing and modeling. It also included insights into impacts of contaminants and pollutants on plants, including algae and higher aquatic and terrestrial plants, to aid understanding and reducing pollution impacts. 

The session featured 27 oral and poster presentations, representing research from academia, government and business, with a balanced number of contributions on aquatic macrophytes, terrestrial plants and algae. Participants were happy to see high-quality contributions and lively, in-person discussions. The organizers were able to accommodate five live-streamed and recorded presentations, which are available for remote viewing on the conference website until 4 August for registered attendees.

The Plants IG steering committee, Guido Gonsior, GG Bio Tech Design; Elisabeth Gross, Université de Lorraine; Valeska Contardo Jara, Umweltbundesamt; and David Olszyk, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, chaired the plants sessions and opened the oral session by giving an overview on all presentations. The talks covered a variety of chemicals ranging and systems.

The speakers included Anze Zupanic, National Institute of Biology, who presented on the novel genomic markers of susceptibility to paraquat, diuron and atrazine in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, and Annelise Gonzales, Clemson University, who discussed the biological effects that uranium and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) had on Lemna minor (Common Duckweed) when it was exposed. Élisabeth Gross, Université de Lorraine, asked if we can we predict regime shifts in shallow aquatic systems exposed to multiple stressors and then presented the conclusions from micro- and mesocosm experiments. Giovanna Meregalli, Corteva Agriscience, used visual phytotoxicity for ER50 derivation in non-target terrestrial plant studies, and Olszyk provided an overview of his work on biochar and other amendments for Douglas fir survival and growth on acidic mine tailings.

The poster session followed the same day and featured lively discussions with the authors of posters on a variety of topics including research methodology, information for risk assessments and effects for algae, aquatic macrophytes, and terrestrial plants.

SETAC’s Plants IG also hosted an informative open meeting. Rena Isemer, Bayer AG, the European co-chair for the IG, invited participants to join the SETAC Plants IG, which is an active scientific community. She especially encouraged interested individuals to consider becoming a member of the IG Steering Committee, which has been taking a strong role in fostering plant research among SETAC members. Open meeting attendees were also invited to submit abstracts for the SETAC North America 44th Annual Meeting in Louisville in November.

The open meeting included updates of the work by the three IG working groups: Jo Davies, Syngenta, focused on glyceria ring test; Joshua Arnie, Eurofins, presented on visual injury assessment; and Andreas Duffner, Eurofins, gave an update on reproduction testing in terrestrial plants. The goal of these groups is to provide new methods to strengthen the scientific basis for risk assessments. Following the working group presentations, the meeting dedicated time to highlighting research presented by the plant science community. Five poster presenters were invited to give brief summaries of their contributions in a “plant science on-a-lift” format, which gave them five minutes each to hit the highlights of their work. The following five posters were presented:

  • “Protectivity Check of the Tier Pesticide Risk Assessment for Aquatic Primary Producers Based on EFSA Endpoints” by Gertie Arts, WUR
  • “Algae Flow Through Ring Test” by Eric Bruns, Bayer AG
  • “Antifouling Coatings: Assessment of the Effects on Phytoplanktonic” by Maren Ortiz, University of the Basque Country
  • “Identifying an Alternative Organic Matter Source for Artificial Sediment Used in Aquatic Plant Exposures” by Ashlee Kirkwood, Smithers
  • “Transcriptomic and Proteomic Analysis of Ecotoxic Modes of Action in Myriophyllum spicatum” by Jost Hanfland, Fraunhofer IME 

Immediately after these short talks, participants were encouraged to view these and the other high-quality posters in the poster hall.

Please visit the SETAC Plants IG webpage for more information on getting involved. We always welcome new members.

Author contact: [email protected]