Working Group on Biological Effects of Contaminants



WGBECWGBECTrueKetil Hylland, Bjørn Einar GrøsvikHAPISGketil.hylland@ibv.uio.no, bjoern.einar.groesvik@hi.no162Working Group on Biological Effects of Contaminants

The Working Group on Biological Effects of Contaminants (WGBEC) examines biological effects of contaminants in the marine environment, improves understanding and research of such pollutants, and aids international research and monitoring.

​​​​​​​WGBEC has identified nine core areas of business.While some of these activities are considered as core activities, others clearly attend to broaden the scope of WGBEC, towards more ecology and wider ecosystem effects and to be in line with the ICES Science Plan.

WGBEC core business

  1. Development of strategies for biological effects in integrated monitoring and assessment and provide advice on appropriate methods for monitoring
  2. The role of biological effects techniques in environmental risk assessment.
  3. Increase fundamental understanding of ecotoxicological processes.
  4. Provide advice on effects of novel / emerging compounds.
  5. Facilitate harmonisation and AQC concerning biological effects methods
  6. Improve understanding on how and whether contaminants in the marine environment interacts with other environmental factors and processes
  7. Improve ecosystem-oriented understanding of how contaminants affect marine systems and processes
  8. Initiate transnational cooperative research and monitoring (e.g. BECPELAG, ICON, BEQUALM, BECPELAG, BONUS+, BEAST and MED POL).
  9. Provide guidance to international organisations / conventions as required and agreed by ICES (OSPAR, HELCOM, AMAP) and aspects in relation to the implementation of the EU MSFD.

WGBEC has been in existence for over twenty years.  It has 64 listed members within ICES.  Over the past five years, there have been between 18 and 29 attendees at the annual meeting – with between 12 and 16 countries represented, including attendees from North America. 

WGBEC includes scientists from national government institutes, academia, industry and management in its membership. The group also has a diverse membership of expertise, ranging from chemists, biologists, biochemists and environmental scientists.  This is beneficial as requests in the past, particularly from OSPAR have been wide-ranging.  The meetings take place over 5 days, usually in March of each year.

WGBEC has strong links with WGPDMO, MCWG, WGMS and WGAGFA and in the future will aim to forge links with other Expert Groups.



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