Ecotoxicology research reports

Research reports are useful for ecotoxicology risk assessment.

Defra's science and research projects database lists all research themes under the field of study of 'pesticide safety'. The database provides a summary, objectives and final project report for each project. You can browse by field of study theme, such as ecotoxicology and ecological Impacts.

Alternatively, use the search function to find specific projects or use the search terms 'PN09', 'PS23' and 'PN08' to find projects related to the ecotoxicology of pesticides.

Frequently used research reports

Birds and mammals

Buxton J.M., Crocker D.R., and Pascual J.A. (1998). Birds and farming: information for risk assessment. 1998 Update Contract PN0919 Milestone Report FERA Project No M37:

This publication provides information on birds that occur in the agricultural environment in the UK and in particular on their diet and breeding period. This publication can be used to help refine the proportion of food types in the diet as outlined in the EFSA Guidance document for Risk Assessment for Birds and Mammals (EFSA-Q-2009-00223).

Crocker D.R. and Irving P.V. (1999). Milestone report 02/01 Variation of bird numbers on arable crops. Contract PN0915 – Improving estimates of exposure to pesticides in arable crops.

This publication highlights the type of work required to determine appropriate focal species, it also proposes several focal species for certain crops.

Crocker, D.R., Irving P.V., Watola, G., Tarrant, KA., Hart, A.D.M. (1998). Contract PN0903: Improving the assessment of pesticide risks to birds in orchards. Objective 2: Relative importance of pesticides and other factors influencing birds in orchards. FERA Report No EH18/01. /01:

This paper summarises the influence of pesticide use, other aspects of husbandry and environmental factors on bird populations in orchards.

Crocker, D.R., Prosser, P., Tarrant, K.A., Irving P.V., Watola, G., Chandler-Morris, S., Hart J. and Hart A.D.M. (1998). Contract PN0903: Improving the assessment of pesticide risks to birds in Orchards Objective 1: Use of radio-telemetry to monitor birds' use of orchards FERA Report No. EH18/02.

This report provides information on the behaviour of birds in UK orchards. In particular it provides useful information on the time that birds spend in orchards and hence can be used to refine the proportion of food obtained from the treated area as outlined in the EFSA Guidance document for Risk Assessment for Birds and Mammals (EFSA-Q-2009-00223)

Crocker D.R., Hart A.D.M., Gurney J. and McCoy C (2002). Project PN0908: Methods for estimating daily food intake of wild birds and mammals: Final report FERA.

This publication was used to derive the food intake rates (FIR) as defined by the EFSA Guidance document for Risk Assessment for Birds and Mammals (EFSA-Q-2009-00223)1. This document can be used to determine more appropriate FIRs.

FERA (2001) Potential Exposure of Birds to Treated Seed (pdf, 53 pages)

Seed treated with pesticides may pose a risk to birds. This study investigates those risks.

FERA (2002) Methods for estimating daily food intake of wild birds and mammals (pdf, 22 pages)

Reviews data on daily energy expenditure and food intake in relation to the risks posed by pesticides.

FERA (2002) Estimating pesticide residues on invertebrates eaten by birds and mammals (poster presented at SETAC Annual Meeting, Baltimore, 11/2001) (pdf, 1 page)

Finch E., Payne, M, Crocker, J (2006). Bird and mammal risk assessment: refining the proportion of diet obtained in the treated crop area (pt) through the use of radio tracking data. Paper to Advisory Committee on Pesticides SC 11419. This paper demonstrates how the proportion of diet obtained in treated areas by birds can be estimated from the recorded radio tracked 'active time' data and discusses the most appropriate percentile value for regulatory use in the current deterministic non-target bird risk assessment for pesticides.

Gurney J.E., Perrett J., Crocker D.R. and Pascual J.A. (1998). Mammals and farming: information for risk assessment. 1998 Update Contract PN0919 Milestone Report FERA Project No M37.

This publication provides information on mammals that occur in the UK agricultural environment and in particular on their diet. This publication can be used to help refine the proportion of food types in the diet as outlined in the EFSA Guidance document for Risk Assessment for Birds and Mammals (EFSA-Q-2009-00223).

Hart A.D.M. (1999). Exposure of non-target organisms to pesticides in gardens. Final report of PN0916. This report provides information on the occurrence and subsequent use of non-target organisms in the home garden and should be consulted when the risk from a home garden pesticide is assessed as it highlights key species as well as issues associated with residues.

Hart A.D.M. (2002). Risk to birds and mammals from solid formulations. Report of PN0922. This is the final report from a suite of projects designed to determine the risk to birds and mammals from solid formulations. This paper should be considered if the risk to birds and/or mammals from either a pellet or a granule is being assessed. The report also includes useful information regarding the residue in earthworms.

Hart A.D.M. (2002). Project PN0920: UK Case studies on quantitative risk assessment: Final report. 1. This project evaluated the feasibility of carrying probabilistic risk assessment under EFSA (2009)1. The report summarises several case studies and concludes that probabilistic risk assessment could provide a significantly better basis for decision-making, if they are used appropriately.

Pascual J., Crocker D.R. and Hart A. D. M. (1998). Project PN0919: Improving estimates of the exposure of non-target wildlife to pesticides in arable crops – a review of existing data - Discussion document for meeting on 15 May 1998. Contract PN0910/PN0919 Milestone report. This report presents information on the occurrence of birds and mammals on arable fields in the UK. This report can be used to determine appropriate focal species for refined risk assessment.

Prosser P. (1999). Project PN0907: Potential exposure of birds to treated seed. Final milestone report FERA. 2.

This report provides useful information on what seed is consumed by what bird; it should be consulted when the risk to birds from a seed treatment is being assessed.

Aquatic organisms

Cranfield University (2001) Higher Tier Laboratory Aquatic Toxicity Testing (pdf, 70 pages). Reviews the role of higher tier laboratory aquatic toxicity studies in the risk assessment process.

Non-target arthropods

Rothamsted Research (2002) Protocols for laboratory, extended laboratory and semi-field bioassays in pesticide risk assessment schemes for non-target arthropods (pdf, 19 pages)

Additional research papers

UK Case Studies on Quantitative Risk Assessment (pdf, 39 pages). This project used case studies to evaluate the feasibility and benefits of applying probabilistic methods to regulatory assessments for pesticides.

Note: European Food Safety Authority; Guidance Document on Risk Assessment for Birds & Mammals on request from EFSA. EFSA Journal 2009; 7(12):1438. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.20091.

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Updated 2021-08-10