John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Comparison of species sensitivity distributions based on population or individual endpoints

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Species sensitivity distributions (SSDs) developed from individual and population endpoints were compared based on simulations and a case study. The simulations were performed with five invertebrate species accounting for the diversity of benthic macroinvertebrate communities in large European lowland rivers and for five benthic invertebrates used as laboratory species. Population growth rate 10% effective concentration (EC10) values were, in most of the simulations, higher than the lowest of the EC10 values at the individual level. However, for the set of ecologically representative species, the fifth percentile level of this distribution (HC5) were more protective for population endpoints than for individual endpoints. This was the opposite for the set of laboratory species. Population and individual SSDs were also compared based on existing data on Cu for the five laboratory invertebrate species. In this case, the calculated population HC5 value was almost twice the individual value, and we showed much reduced variability between species sensitivities at population level compared with individual level. The authors conclude that population‐based HC5 would generally be more protective than individual‐based HC5. However, the change of level could reveal higher homogeneity at population level than at individual level, supporting the use of population‐based HC5 to avoid overprotection. The authors thus advise the derivation of population‐based HC5, as soon as it is possible to derive such value with a relevant panel of species. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. © 2013 SETAC

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