Emergent technologies and analytical approaches for understanding the effects of multiple stressors in aquatic environments

A. A. Chariton, M. Sun, J. Gibson, J. A. Webb, K. M Y Leung, C. W. Hickey, G. C. Hose*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


In order to assess how emerging science and new tools can be applied to study multiple stressors on a large (ecosystem) scale and to facilitate greater integration of approaches among different scientific disciplines, a workshop was held on 10-12 September 2014 at the Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences, Sydney, Australia. This workshop aimed to explore the potential offered by new approaches to characterise stressor regimes, to explore stressor-response relationships among biota, to design better early-warning systems and to develop smart tools to support sustainable management of human activities, through more efficient regulation. In this paper we highlight the key issues regarding biological coverage, the complexity of multiply stressed environments, and our inability to predict the biological effects under such scenarios. To address these challenges, we provide an extension of the current Environmental Risk Assessment framework. Underpinning this extension is the harnessing of environmental-genomic data, which has the capacity to provide a broader view of diversity, and to express the ramifications of multiple stressors across multiple levels of biological organisation. We continue to consider how these and other emerging data sources may be combined and analysed using new statistical approaches for disentangling the effects of multiple stressors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-428
Number of pages15
JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • big data
  • causality
  • environmental genomics
  • predictive models.

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