Competing statistical methods for the fitting of normal species sensitivity distributions: Recommendations for practitioners

Graeme L. Hickey, Peter S. Craig

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    A species sensitivity distribution (SSD) models data on toxicity of a specific toxicant to species in a defined assemblage. SSDs are typically assumed to be parametric, despite noteworthy criticism, with a standard proposal being the log-normal distribution. Recently, and confusingly, there have emerged different statistical methods in the ecotoxicological risk assessment literature, independent of the distributional assumption, for fitting SSDs to toxicity data with the overall aim of estimating the concentration of the toxicant that is hazardous to % of the biological assemblage (usually with small). We analyze two such estimators derived from simple linear regression applied to the ordered log-transformed toxicity data values and probit transformed rank-based plotting positions. These are compared to the more intuitive and statistically defensible confidence limit-based estimator. We conclude based on a large-scale simulation study that the latter estimator should be used in typical assessments where a pointwise value of the hazardous concentration is required. © 2011 Society for Risk Analysis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1232-1243
    Number of pages11
    JournalRisk Analysis
    Volume32
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012

    Keywords

    • Ecotoxicological risk assessment
    • Hazardous concentration
    • Species sensitivity distribution

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