Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 121, Issue 1–3, pp 15–31 | Cite as

Ecotoxicological Classification of the Berlin River System Using Bioassays in Respect to the European Water Framework Directive



Bioassays as well as biochemical responses (biomarkers) in ecosystems due to environmental stress provide us with signals (environmentally signalling) of potential damage in the environment. If these responses are perceived in this early stage in ecosystems, the eventual damage can be prevented. Once ecosystem damage has occurred, the remedial action processes for recovery could be expensive and pose certain logistical problems. Ideally, “early warning signals” in ecosystems using sensing systems of biochemical responses (biomarkers) would not only tell us the initial levels of damage, but these signals will also provide us with answers by the development of control strategies and precautionary measures in respect to the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). Clear technical guidelines or technical specifications on monitoring are necessary to establish and characterise reference conditions for use in an ecological status classification system for surface water bodies. For the Ecotoxicological Risk Assessment (ERA) of endocrine effects we used an approach of the exposure – dose – response concept. Based on the “Ecototoxicological Classification System of Sediments” that uses pT-values to classify effects in different river systems, we transferred the bio-monitoring data to the five-level ecological system of the WFD. To understand the complexity of the structure of populations and processes behind the health of populations, communities and ecosystems an ERA should establish links between natural factors, chemicals, and biological responses so as to assess causality. So, our ecological monitoring assessment has incorporated exposure & effects data.


bioassay effect assessment ecotoxicological classification in sediment endocrine effects exposure of drugs 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EcotoxicologyTechnische Universität Berlin, Faculty VIBerlinGermany

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