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Harmonised framework for ecological risk assessment of sediments from ports and estuarine zones of North and South Atlantic
  • Universidade Santa Cecilia (UNISANTA)
  • Univ Cadiz
  • Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP)
  • Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCar)
  • Univ Puerto Real
  • Lab Pocos Caldas
  • Univ Positivo
  • Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES)
  • Ministerio de Educacion y Ciencia/Direccion General de Universidades (Spain)
  • Spanish Ministry of Education
Sponsorship Process Number: 
  • CAPES: 099/06
  • Ministerio de Educacion y Ciencia/Direccion General de Universidades (Spain): BEX 3238/067
  • Ministerio de Educacion y Ciencia/Direccion General de Universidades (Spain): BEX 3239/06-3
  • Ministerio de Educacion y Ciencia/Direccion General de Universidades (Spain): BEX2492/08-03
  • Ministerio de Educacion y Ciencia/Direccion General de Universidades (Spain): BEX2300/08-7/MEC-Spain PHB 2005-0100-PC
  • Spanish Ministry of Education: CTM2005-07282-C03-C01/TECNO
  • Spanish Ministry of Education: PET2006-0685-00
  • Spanish Ministry of Education: PET2006-0685-01
This paper presents a harmonised framework of sediment quality assessment and dredging material characterisation for estuaries and port zones of North and South Atlantic. This framework, based on the weight-of-evidence approach, provides a structure and a process for conducting sediment/dredging material assessment that leads to a decision. The main structure consists of step 1 (examination of available data); step 2 (chemical characterisation and toxicity assessment); decision 1 (any chemical level higher than reference values? are sediments toxic?); step 3 (assessment of benthic community structure); step 4 (integration of the results); decision 2 (are sediments toxic or benthic community impaired?); step 5 (construction of the decision matrix) and decision 3 (is there environmental risk?). The sequence of assessments may be interrupted when the information obtained is judged to be sufficient for a correct characterisation of the risk posed by the sediments/dredging material. This framework brought novel features compared to other sediment/dredging material risk assessment frameworks: data integration through multivariate analysis allows the identification of which samples are toxic and/or related to impaired benthic communities; it also discriminates the chemicals responsible for negative biological effects; and the framework dispenses the use of a reference area. We demonstrated the successful application of this framework in different port and estuarine zones of the North (Gulf of Cadiz) and South Atlantic (Santos and Paranagua Estuarine Systems).
Issue Date: 
Ecotoxicology. Dordrecht: Springer, v. 19, n. 4, p. 678-696, 2010.
Time Duration: 
  • Sediment assessment
  • Weight of evidence
  • Dredged material
  • Multivariate analysis
  • Estuary
Access Rights: 
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Appears in Collections:Artigos, TCCs, Teses e Dissertações da Unesp

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