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Predictive Modelling and Ecotoxicology Group

Research in team MEPS concern the environmental risk assessment. They are based on modelling of mechanistic dynamical systems, for cognitive and predictive purposes, and associated statistical inference methods. Ecotoxicology is the main application field of the methodological developments in the team, but closely related activities in the field of food risk complementary contribute to our advances within the global conceptual framework of decision help for the management of collective risks.

Ecotoxicology deals with the study of toxic effects, caused by natural or synthetic pollutants, to the constituents of ecosystems, animal (including human), vegetable and microbial, in an integral context. Today, ecotoxicology is duty bound to provide methods and tools, predictive on one hand, for a prior risk assessment, and diagnostic on the other hand, for a posterior identification of effects and their control. This will thus allow quantifying exposure to potentially hazardous substances, evaluating dose-response relationships to define threshold levels, and understanding the underlying biological and ecological mechanisms in order to develop environmental quality indicators. The current scepticism of regulators and industrials, as potential users and decision makers, faced with the diversity and complexity of such methods and tools, requires reflecting simultaneously on their standardization.

Research in team MEPS comes in five main themes, each answering its own biological question, but all contributing to methodological advances, required to reach an integrative view of contaminant effects between levels of biological organization:
- Theme 1- Modelling of contaminant effects on individual life history traits: optimization of knowledge acquisition, analysis and interpretation methods of individual data;
- Theme 2- Characterization and inclusion of between-species variabilities, for one contaminant or a family of contaminants;
- Theme 3- Inclusion of ecological factors, in order to extrapolate at the population level;
- Theme 4- Inclusion of trophic relationships and more generally of ecological interactions to predict effects at the community level;
- Cross-disciplinary theme- Development and provision of a battery of methods and tools dedicated to ecotoxicological risk assessment (dose-response models integrating the temporal component and associated inference methods, coupling with models of sensitivity species distribution, population and community dynamical systems…).

MEPS team contributes to the development and the maintenance of already existing R packages (nlstools, fitdistrplus et mc2d), but also plans to develop new packages specifically dedicated to ecotoxicology. In 2013, works in MEPS team will significantly contribute to the establishment of the “Modelling Department” within the platform ROVALTAIN for research in environmental toxicology and ecotoxicology. Our main collaborators are IRSTEA (Ecotoxicology Laboratory, Lyon), the ENTPE (IPE team of LEHNA, Vaulx-en-Velin) and INRA Rennes.


Group leader: Charles Sandrine PU UCBL

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