Multiple Stressors: A Challenge for the Future
Ecotoxiclogical risk from multiple stressors covers any situation where org- isms are exposed to a combination of environmental stressors. These include physical and chemical pollutants as well as other stressors such as parasites and environmental impact (e. g., climate change or habitat loss). The combi- tion of stressors can result in increased risk to organisms (either additive or synergistic effects) or decreased effects (protective or antagonistic effects). The multiple stressor challenge is an international, multi-disciplinary problem requiring an international, multi-disciplinary approach. The c- rent approach to multiple stressors is to examine one stressor at a time and assume additivity. Little work has been done on combinations of stressors such that potential interactions can be determined. The problem is very complex. Multiple stressors pose a whole spectrum of challenges that range from basic science to regulation, policy and gove- ance. The challenges raise fundamental questions about our understanding of the basic biological response to stressors, as well as the implications of those uncertainties in environmental risk assessment and management. In addition to the great breadth, there is also great depth in the research ch- lenges, largely due to the complexity of the issues. From a basic science point of view, many of the mechanisms and processes under investigation are at the cutting edge of science — involving new paradigms such as genomic ins- bility and bystander effects.
TopicalMultidisciplinaryState-of-the-Art researchFocused on an emerging problem