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ECO19-RUG: ChimERA – An integrated modelling tool for ecological risk assessment

Principal Investigator

Ghent University
Jozef Plateaustraat 22
B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
Dr. Frederik De Laender
Tel: +32 (0)9 264 3779
Fax: +32 (0)9 264 3766


Paul J. Van den Brink, Alterra and Wageningen University, NL
Antonio Di Guardo, University of Insubria, IT


The first objective of this project is to couple separate exposure and effect models (here called’sub-models’) into a chemical integrated exposure and effect ecosystem model for ecological risk assessment (ChimERA) for the aquatic environment. This will be realized by combining the expertise of the consortium partners in the modelling of chemical fate and exposure, the effects on the level of individuals, populations and ecosystems, and the recovery potential. Just as the mythological Chimera is a creature composed of parts of various animals (, this project will integrate ERA’s building blocks into one predictive tool that will be subject to extensive testing using data from dedicated experimental work and from existing experiments performed with model-ecosystems and using uncertainty and sensitivity analyses.

In addition, this project will initiate a’tiered’ approach to model development, i.e. ChimERA will include stylized, simplified representations, which can be replaced by more complex modules in future efforts. For example, ChimERA will use Toxicokinetic/Toxicodynamic (TK/TD) sub-models to assess internal exposure and effects on the survival and reproduction of individuals.

Como Chimera Workshop on 10 February 2016

20160210 COMO Chimera Workshop on 10 February 2016

Related Publications


ECO19: ChimERA: An integrated modelling tool for ecological risk assessment by Prof. Frederik De Laender, Univ. Ghent/Univ. of Namur, BE, Cefic-LRI workshop 2015

European-wide ecological scenarios for the exposure assessment of chemicals in aquatic systems by Di Guardo A., Morselli M., Morabito G., Van den Brink P.J. and Frederik De Laender F., SETAC Barcelona 2015

Exploring the influence of environmental and ecological dynamics on exposure predictions: a modelling approach by Morselli M., Scacchi M., Semplice M., De Laender F., Van den Brink P.J. and Di Guardo A., SETAC Barcelona 2015

Food web models as a tool for ecological scenario analysis by Karel P. J. Viaene, Frederik De Laender,Colin R. Janssen, SETAC Congress, Basel 2015

Using the DEBkiss IBM framework to predict chemical effects on two interacting zooplankton species by Karel P. J. Viaene, Andreas Focks, Hans Baveco, Paul van den Brink, Colin R. Janssen, Frederik De Laender, SETAC Congress, Basel 2015

Fate modeling and exposure scenarios within the Cefic project ChimERA - an integrated modelling tool for ecological risk assessment by Di Guardo A., Fresenius Agro Conference 2014

Importance of exposure dynamics in aquatic ecosystem risk assessment by Melissa Morselli M., Semplice M., Zichella A. and Di Guardo A., SETAC Basel 2014

Coupled individual based models as a new tool to predict ecological effects in multi-sciences systems by Karel P.J. Viaene et al, SETAC Congress, Basel 2014

The ecological consequences of various chemical emission patterns in food webs by Karel P.J. Viaene at el, SETAC Congress, Basel 2014

Ecological interactions alter the response of Daphnia magna populations to chemical stress by Karel P.J. Viaene at el, SETAC Congress, Basel 2014

ChimERA: Coupling exposure and effects into a predictive integrated framework for risk assessment by Frederik De Laender, Karel P.J. Viaene, Antonio Di Guardo, Hans Baveco and Paul van den Brink, SETAC Congress, Glasgow 2013


Del Arco A.I., Rico A. and P.J. Van Den Brink (2015). Effects of intra- and interspecific competition on the sensitivity of Daphnia magna populations to the fungicide carbendazim. Ecotoxicology, 24:1362 - 1371

Del Arco A.I., Parra G., Rico A. and P.J. Van Den Brink (2015). Effects of intra-and interspecific competition on the sensitivity of aquatic macroinvertebrates to carbendazim. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 120, 27-34

Viaene K.P.J., De Laender F., Rico A., P.J. Van Den Brink, Di Guardo A., Morselli M. and Janssen C.R. (2015). Species Interactions and chemical stress: combined effects of intraspecific and interspecific interactions and pyrene on Daphnia Magna populations dynamics. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Vol. 34, No. 8, pp. 1751–1759, 2015

F. De Laender, M.Morselli, H. Baveco, P.J. Van den Brink  and A. Di Guardo (2015). Theoretically exploring direct and indirect chemical effects across ecological and exposure scenarios using mechanistic fate and effects modelling. Environment International 74,181–190

Morselli M., Semplice M., De Laender F., P. J. Van den Brink and Di Guardo A. (2015). Importance of environmental and biomass dynamics in predicting chemical exposure in ecological risk assessment. Science of the Total Environment 526, 338–345

F. De Laender, P. J. Van Den Brink, Janssen C.R. and Di Guardo A. (2014). The ChimERA project: coupling mechanistic exposure and effect models into an integrated platform for ecological risk assessment. Environ Sci Pollut Res, 21:6263–6267

Timeline: February 2013 > January 2016

LRI funding: € 698.975


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