Roman Ashauer, Carlo Albert, Starrlight Augustine, Nina Cedergreen, Sandrine Charles, Virginie Ducrot, Andreas Focks, Faten Gabsi, André Gergs, Benoit Goussen, Tjalling Jager, Nynke I. Kramer, Anna-Maija Nyman, Veronique Poulsen, Stefan Reichenberger, Ralf B. Schäfer, Paul J. Van den Brink, Karin Veltman, Sören Vogel, Elke I. Zimmer, Thomas G. Preuss
Scientific Reports 6:29178. DOI 10.1038/srep29178
Publication year: 2016


The General Unified Threshold model for Survival (GUTS) integrates previously published toxicokinetic-toxicodynamic models and estimates survival with explicitly defined assumptions. Importantly, GUTS accounts for time-variable exposure to the stressor. We performed three studies to test the ability of GUTS to predict survival of aquatic organisms across different pesticide exposure patterns, time scales and species. Firstly, using synthetic data, we identified experimental data requirements which allow for the estimation of all parameters of the GUTS proper model. Secondly, we assessed how well GUTS, calibrated with short-term survival data of Gammarus pulex exposed to four pesticides, can forecast effects of longer-term pulsed exposures. Thirdly, we tested the ability of GUTS to estimate 14-day median effect concentrations of malathion for a range of species and use these estimates to build species sensitivity distributions for different exposure patterns. We find that GUTS adequately predicts survival across exposure patterns that vary over time. When toxicity is assessed for time-variable concentrations species may differ in their responses depending on the exposure profile. This can result in different species sensitivity rankings and safe levels. The interplay of exposure pattern and species sensitivity deserves systematic investigation in order to better understand how organisms respond to stress, including humans.

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