Old and new tendencies in ecotoxicology: the relevance of stress ecology and ecotoxicogenomics

  • S. A. Reinecke Departement Plant- en Dierkunde, Universiteit van Stellenbosch


The relatively young science, ecotoxicology, has changed substantially during the last decade from a more practically oriented science to a basic one with more focus on problem solving and the search for causalities in the study of effects. In this article the origin and position of the discipline is analysed, as well as the influence of new developments in the fields of bio-informatics and genetics. The merit of this is discussed and the conclusion made that ecotoxicology can be seen as a separate science, notwithstanding its multidisciplinarity. A review is given of the historic development of the subject and its connection with broad ecology as an example of stress ecology. The importance of incorporating the most recent research developments in biology into ecotoxicology, such as bio-informatics, multivariate statistics and genomics, is discussed. The view is expressed that ecotoxicology will be changing in the near future to include ecotoxicogenomics. This will be a result of the interaction between ecotoxicology and ecology on the cross roads with genomics and bio- informatics.
Original Research