Ecological Risk Assessment Guidelines
The ERA Process: Analyse
The analysis of information is the second formal stage of an ERA. The risk assessor is responsible for this stage.
Critically evaluate existing studies. Establish the strengths and limitations of data from various sources. Compare the purpose and scope of existing studies carefully with those of the risk assessment. Use only data from studies that display due diligence and scientific rigour.
Data that are not available, but which are critical to the assessment, are measured and/or modelled during the analysis of the gathered information
Measure new data, if necessary. New data can be obtained through measurements, modelling, experimentation etc. This would be driven by the data required to reach the specified objectives. Evaluate uncertainty. Describe uncertainties in the exposure-effects relationships and, preferably, quantify what is known and not known. Distinguish between natural variability due to stochastic processes and uncertainty due to lack of knowledge. ...more
Describe the place where the stressor is produced. Address the intensity and timing of stressor induction and/or where one becomes aware of its presence (spatial, magnitude and temporal dimension). Evaluate the mechanisms and pathways of the stressors' dispersion from the source.
Relate stressor levels to ecological effects, preferably quantitatively. Ecological effects should be reflected at the expected/existing stressor levels. Establish cause-and-effect relationships (causality), including sources of uncertainty. Develop an integrated stressor-response profile that integrates existing and new information. Clearly link what needs to be protected (assessment end point) with what can be measured (measures of effect) ...more
Information gathered at this stage may necessitate an iteration of the Plan Assessment-stage.