Can saltwater toxicity be predicted from freshwater data?

Mar Pollut Bull. 2001 Nov;42(11):1007-13. doi: 10.1016/s0025-326x(01)00135-7.


The regulation of substances discharged to estuarine and coastal environments relies upon data derived from ecotoxicity tests. Most such data are generated for freshwater rather than saltwater species. If freshwater toxicity data are related to saltwater toxic effects in a systematic and predictable way, the former can be used to predict the latter. This would have economic advantages due to a reduction in toxicity testing of saltwater species. If toxicity data are plotted as species sensitivity distributions, four theoretical relationships between freshwater and saltwater can be envisaged. Examples show that each one of these relationships is supported by empirical data. These examples show that although there is considerable potential for freshwater to saltwater prediction, species parity and representativeness need to be examined for each chemical substance to avoid bias.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Forecasting
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Toxicity Tests*
  • Water / chemistry*
  • Water Pollutants / toxicity*


  • Water Pollutants
  • Water
  • Sodium Chloride