Community Ecology and Ecotoxicology

A major problem with the risk assessment of chemicals is the extrapolation of laboratory single-species toxicity tests to natural communities. Communities are regulated by interactions (e.g. competition and predation) among individuals of the same species (intraspecific interactions) as well as among individuals of different species (interspecific interactions). The introduction of chemicals may alter these interactions, as species are differently affected by those chemicals. Changes in interactions can ultimately lead to changes in community composition, diversity and productivity. GhEnToxLab is interested in unraveling the mechanisms underlying community-level stress effects and their implications for risk assessment. Based on experimental data and theoretical models, GhEnToxLab studies the consequences of chemicals and other environmental stressors on the composition and productivity of closed and spatial implicit communities. This is not only essential for evaluating the protectiveness of current regulatory practices, but also for understanding the consequences of ongoing global biodiversity and environmental changes.

Current researchers
Simon Hansul 

Past researchers
Jan BaertJonathan De Raedt, Dimitri Van de PerreKarel Viaene

PhD theses

Baert, Jan. (2017). Environmental dependency of biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships. Ghent University. Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent, Belgium.

Viaene, K. (2016). Improving ecological realism in the risk assessment of chemicals: development of an integrated model. Ghent University. Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent, Belgium.

Recent publications

Viaene, K. et al. (2015). Species interactions and chemical stress: combined effects of intraspecific and interspecific interactions and pyrene on Daphnia magna population dynamics. ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY34(8), 1751–1759.

Van de Perre, D. (2016). The effects of zinc on the structure and functioning of a freshwater community: A microcosm experiment. ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY, 35(11), 2698–2712.

Baert, J. et al. (2016). Per capita interactions and stress tolerance drive stress-induced changes in biodiversity effects on ecosystem functions. NATURE COMMUNICATIONS7.

De Raedt, J. et al. (2017). Non-additive effects of dispersal and selective stress on structure, evenness, and biovolume production in marine diatom communities. HYDROBIOLOGIA, DOI: 10.1007/s10750-016-3016-z

Aquatic systems under multiple Stress: a new paradigm integrating aquaculture and ecotoxicology research (AQUASTRESS)

Coupling mechanistic exposure and effect models for ecological risk assessment (Chimera)