Making sense of chemical stress
Making sense of chemical stress
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Making sense of chemical stress

Last updated on 2017-07-24

About the Book

Have you ever asked yourself why the effects of toxic chemicals depend on the exposure time? Or asked why stress effects on growth and reproduction are so different in the same organism, even though these responses must be linked in some causal way? Did you ever wish to understand toxic effects, so that you can make an educated prediction of effects under other conditions? Or do you want to understand why toxic effects depend on other factors such as temperature, food density, and life stage? This book addresses those questions by taking a radically different approach than what is common in ecotoxicology and stress ecology: by simplifying biological reality to an enormous extent. In this book, I will present a mechanistic treatment of chemical effects. The main focus lies on one particularly useful framework for the interpretation of toxic effects, namely Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) theory. Even if you are not convinced that this theory is the way to go for your particular problem, knowledge of the concepts behind it allows you to examine your (and other people's) data and models more critically. DEB theory is a powerful framework for ecotoxicology and stress ecology. This book provides a gentle introduction into the concepts behind the theory, and how to apply them in practice. The book is completely "math free", but a technical support document is available without charge.

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About the Author

Tjalling Jager
Tjalling Jager

Mechanistic modelling is an under-utilised tool in ecotoxicology and stress ecology. It is my mission to promote these models through (applied) scientific projects, providing software solutions, teaching in courses, presentations at conferences, and through writing e-books. The models that I specialise in are so-called toxicokinetic-toxicodynamic (TKTD) models; in particular, models for survival (the GUTS framework) and sublethal effects (based on Dynamic Energy Budget - DEB - theory). These models are based on a rigid simplification of biological complexity, and have the power to explain (and predict) life-history traits of organisms (e.g., growth, reproduction and survival) over time. Especially when considering exposure to stressors, such dynamic models are indispensable to make sense of the data.

I hold an MSc and PhD in Biology, and have been a professional modeller since 1992, working almost exclusively on DEB- and GUTS-based TKTD modelling since 2002. Currently, I run my own private company 'DEBtox Research'.

More information about Tjalling at DEBtox Research

More information about DEB(tox) and GUTS models

Table of Contents


1. Setting the scene

2. A model for energy budgets

3. Toxicokinetics

4. Toxicodynamics

5. Selecting and fitting models

6. Case studies

7. Final words



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