Freshwater Biology, December 2016, Vol.61(12), pp.2185-2196
Ecotoxicology is often criticised for its simplistic approach, which does not normally consider the complexity of field conditions. Simple laboratory experiments can still be useful, however, especially for assessing effects of emerging stressors such as nanoparticles, which exhibit fates, exposure profiles and modes of action substantially different from those of traditional chemicals. Here we argue that it is important to understand the potential effects of environmental conditions (e.g. UV radiation, dissolved organic matter, chemical stressors) on the fate and ecotoxicological potential of nanoparticles by using simple and well‐controlled experiments, while aiming to mimic realistic environmental conditions as closely as possible. The observation that increasingly complex test systems may yield lower effect thresholds for nanoparticles than standardised tests suggests that current approaches require modification. Specifically, research is encouraged on interactions among trophic levels, community composition and ecosystem and evolutionary processes, so that effects observed in complex environmental settings can be explained mechanistically. We highlight recent discoveries in ecotoxicology and ecology that suggest nanoparticle‐induced consequences on evolutionary and ecosystem processes as well as their potential transfer across ecosystem boundaries. These insights may encourage further research on nanoparticle effects informed by ecological theory.
Environmental Variables ; Mechanism Of Toxicity ; Mixture Toxicity ; Nanomaterial ; Trophic Interaction