John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Selection Bias Correction For Species Sensitivity Distribution Modelling And Hazardous Concentration Estimation

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Courtesy of John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

The species sensitivity distribution (SSD) has been an important development in ecotoxicology and, despite numerous concerns having been raised over many years, it remains the preferred (and often-times mandated) technique for establishing ‘safe’ concentrations of contaminants in receiving water bodies by jurisdictions around the world. Although universally recognised as a crucial pre-requisite for the statistical validity of the procedure, the assumption of random selection of species for SSD modelling is invariably violated. It has been shown in the present study that under very minimal assumptions, non-random species selection can result in HCx estimation errors of a factor of 20 or more. Importantly it is found that if the toxicity data are biased towards the more sensitive species then the conventional practice of using the lower confidence interval limit for the estimated HCx may be compensating in the wrong direction.

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