chapter  1
14 Pages

Overview of Ecological Risk Assessment in Coastal and Estuarine Environments

Ecological risk assessment is a logical process for objectively defining the probability of an adverse effect to an organism or collection of organisms when challenged with an environmental modification such as climatic change, xenobiotic exposure, infection with a disease organism, or some other potential stressor. The link between the parameter producing the effect (i.e., the stressor) and the organism(s) responding (i.e., the receptor) is accessible mainly by inference in the absence of full and detailed knowledge. Long used in economics and health sciences, risk assessment has a shorter history of application to ecological systems and even a shorter history for estuarine and coastal systems.