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Exposure Research

Exposure Research: Ecosystems

Methods, Models, Tools and Databases

Methods

  • Biological Methods and Manual Development
    EPA's research in stream and source monitoring indicators includes fish, macroinvertebrates, periphyton, zooplankton, functional ecosystem indicators, water and sediment toxicity, and fish tissue contaminants. EPA exposure scientists regularly prepare and update field and laboratory protocol and methods manuals. They also provide technical assistance to EPA regions, program offices and states on the implementation and interpretation of these manuals. This website lists currently available manuals and protocols.
  • ReVA
    EPA's Regional Vulnerability Assessment (ReVA) program is an approach to regional scale, priority-setting assessment by integrating research on human and environmental health, ecorestoration, landscape analysis, regional exposure and process modeling, problem formulation, and ecological risk guidelines.

Models

  • SPARC Performs Automated Reasoning in Chemistry (SPARC)
    EPA ecosystems researchers have developed a predictive modeling system known as SPARC (SPARC Performs Automated Reasoning in Chemistry) for estimating chemical reactivity parameters and physical properties for a wide range of organic molecules. This information is needed to be able to predict the fate and transport of pollutants in the environment. SPARC is being designed to incorporate multiple mathematical approaches to estimate important chemical reactions and behavior. It will then interface directly with air, water, and land models to provide scientists with data that can inform risk assessments and help prioritize toxicity-testing requirements for regulated chemicals.
  • CMAQ Model
    CMAQ is an air quality model and software suite designed to model multiple pollutants at multiple scales. CMAQ allows regulatory agencies and state governments to evaluate the impact of air quality management decisions, and gives scientists the ability to probe, simulate, and understand chemical and physical interactions in the atmosphere.
  • ReVA
    EPA's Regional Vulnerability Assessment (ReVA) program is an approach to regional scale, priority-setting assessment by integrating research on human and environmental health, ecorestoration, landscape analysis, regional exposure and process modeling, problem formulation, and ecological risk guidelines.
  • Supercomputer for Model Uncertainty and Sensitivity Evaluation (SuperMUSE)
    EPA’s Supercomputer for Model Uncertainty and Sensitivity Evaluation, or SuperMUSE, enhances quality assurance in environmental models and applications. Uncertainty analysis (UA) and sensitivity analysis (SA) remain critical, though often overlooked steps in the development and evaluation of computer models. As a result of the SuperMUSE hardware and software technology, EPA can now better investigate new and existing UA and SA methods. EPA can also more easily achieve UA/SA of complex, Windows-based environmental models, allowing scientists to conduct analyses that have, to date, been impractical to consider.
  • Exposure Analysis Modeling System (EXAMS)
    EXAMS is a modeling system that supports development of aquatic ecosystem models for rapid evaluation of the fate, transport, and exposure concentrations of synthetic organic chemicals like pesticides, industrial materials, and leachates from disposal sites. The system is able to generate and summarize data critical for ecological risk assessments. Much of the data required for EXAMS to function has been collected historically. This allows data needs to be met for a certain projects without intensive field sampling.
  • Bioaccumulation in Aquatic Systems Simulator (BASS)
    BASS is a model that simulates population and bioaccumulation dynamics of age-structured fish communities. While BASS was designed to investigate bioaccumulation of chemicals within community or ecosystem contexts, it also allows EPA to evaluate various dimensions of fish health associated with non-chemical stressors. Accurate bioaccumulation estimates help predict realistic dietary exposures to humans and fish-eating wildlife.
  • Framework for Risk Analysis of Multi-Media Environmental Systems (FRAMES)
    FRAMES is a software-based modeling system that takes collections of models and modeling tools and applies them to real world problems. FRAMES facilitates communication between models, supporting the passage of data that helps simulate complex environmental processes. The tool has been used in EPA assessments in support of the Hazardous Waste Identification Rule (HWIR), which establishes contaminant concentration levels in industrial waste streams that are considered safe for disposal.
  • Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) Model
    EPA’s Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) Model is one of several receptor models developed by EPA scientists that provide scientific support for current ambient air quality standards and implementation of those standards by identifying and quantifying the relative contributions that various air pollution sources contribute to ambient air quality in a community or region. Users of EPA’s PMF model provide files of sample species concentrations and uncertainties which the model uses to calculate the number of sources types, profiles, relative contributions, and a time-series of contributions.
  • Unmix 6.0 Model
    EPA’s Unmix 6.0 Model is one of several receptor models developed by EPA scientists that provide scientific support for current ambient air quality standards and implementation of those standards by identifying and quantifying the relative contributions that various air pollution sources contribute to ambient air quality in a community or region. Users of EPA’s PMF model provide files of sample species concentrations and uncertainties which the model uses to calculate the number of sources types, profiles, relative contributions, and a time-series of contributions.

Tools

  • Spatial Allocator
    The Spatial Allocator was developed by the Institute for the Environment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide tools that could be used by the air quality modeling community to perform commonly needed spatial tasks without requiring the use of a commercial Geographic Information System (GIS).
  • Watershed Health Assessment Tools Investigating Fisheries (WHATIF)
    WHATIF is software that integrates a number of calculators, tools, and models for assessing the health of watersheds and streams with an emphasis on fish communities. The toolset consists of hydrologic and stream geometry calculators, a fish assemblage predictor, a fish habitat suitability calculator, macro-invertebrate biodiversity calculators, and a process-based model to predict biomass dynamics of stream biota. WHATIF also supports screening analyses, such as prioritizing areas for restoration and comparing alternative watershed and habitat management scenarios.
  • ReVA Tools and Projects
    EPA's Regional Vulnerability Assessment (ReVA) program is designed to create the methods needed to understand a region's environmental quality and its spatial pattern. Impacts of human activities are not uniformly distributed across landscapes and regions (defined here as a multi-state area) and are often interacting in complex ways.
  • ReVA - Environmental Decision Toolkits under development
  • Ubertool: Ecological Risk Web Application for Pesticide Modeling
    EPA scientists have developed a prototype cloud computing-base knowledge management system to support ecological risk decisions mandated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Endangered Species Act.  The “Ubertool” dashboard infrastructure integrates the processing of model results for over a dozen commonly-used EPA aquatic and terrestrial regulatory models and supporting datasets.

Databases

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