National Institute for Environmental Studies
The fourth five-year plan(2016-2020)/ Health and Environmental Safety Research Program

Project 3

Research project on ecological model-based risk assessment and management

Overview of Project 3

To manage the ecological risks resulting from environmental disturbances caused by chemicals, it is essential to first understand the causal relationships between environmental disturbances and ecological communities. However, monitoring data generally only show correlations between ecological disturbances and the ecological community. If we select management measures to reduce ecological risks based only on these correlations, ecological risk management is often not successful.
The aim of this project is to examine the causal relationships between environmental disturbances and ecological communities and to select the most effective management measures by using field surveys. We are developing an ecosystem model to predict the effects of environmental disturbances on ecosystems; this model incorporates ripple effects caused by species interactions. In addition, we are developing an ecological community model to understand the mechanisms that maintain species diversity, and thereby predict the effects of disturbances on ecosystems. Together, these two models will allow prediction of the effectiveness of management measures and identify the key species to protect within ecosystems. We are also developing ecological models to assess and manage ecological risks caused by environmental disturbances that incorporate the uncertainty inherent in causal relationships.
The outcomes of this research project will provide methods for precisely assessing and effectively managing the ecological risk posed by environmental disturbances. In addition, current chemical management practices do not include established methodologies to assess ecological risks that simultaneously affect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and the outcomes of this project will provide the basis for enhancing current ecological risk assessment and management.

PJ3 Members

Project leader: Hiroyuki Yokomizo (Center for Health and Environmental Risk Research)
Center for Health and Environmental Risk Research
 Takehiko Hayashi, Kosuke Nakanishi, Kazutaka Takeshita, Takahiro Misaki*
Center for Environmental Biology and Ecosystem Studies
 Katsuhiko Yoshida, Yayoi Takeuchi
(*: Researcher who belonged to the past)


PJ3 Sub-study

  • Study of the causal relationships between environmental disturbances, community structures, and management measures
  • Study of methods to predict environmental disturbances within ecosystems