The group has a number of tasks including developing strategies for integrated monitoring of biological effects, providing advice on appropriate methods for monitoring, and increasing the fundamental understanding of ecotoxicological processes. Broader ecological and ecosystem considerations are also looked at, including understanding how contaminants interact with other environmental processes and marine systems.
WGBEC initiates transnational research and monitoring and provides guidance to international organizations and conventions such as OPSAR, HELCOM, and AMAP, including in relation to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).
Its membership is diverse and includes chemists, biologists, and environmental scientists from national government institutes, academia, and industry. The work links to other ICES expert groups, including the Working Group on Pathology and Disease of Marine Organisms (WGPDMO) and the Marine Chemistry Working Group (MCWG).