Deadline extended: Authors are invited to submit an abstract for oral or poster presentation by Friday, 21 July.

Abstracts can be submitted to the following sessions

Chairs: Beatrice Opeolu, Olalekan Fatoki, Matt Dodd

The importance of aquatic ecosystems cannot be over-emphasized because water resources and the hydrological cycle are critical for continued human existence on earth. Rivers and oceans play a vital role in maintaining ecological balance of atmospheric, aquatic and terrestrial systems. Freshwater resources are particularly scarce; it is only about 3% of world’s water resources.

The impacts of climate change further contribute to risks associated with depletion and degradation of this important resource. Water has no known alternative and it is becoming increasingly scarce due to population explosion, industrialization and climate change.

Many pollutants, classified as emerging contaminants occur in aquatic systems. They include plastics (macroplastics, mesoplastics and microplastics, depending on their particle sizes) pharmaceuticals, nanomaterials and metals. Most of these contaminants have also been classified as endocrine disruptors.

They get into water bodies from waste discharges, wastewater treatment plants, and household products, among others. These pollutants may be ingested by aquatic organisms resulting in adverse effects on ecosystem functions. For example, ingested plastics have the potential to adversely affect the digestive tract, respiratory system and locomotive appendages of aquatic organisms. Aquatic fauna may also be entrapped or entangled and chocked by plastics. Other contaminants such as persistent organic pollutants may also adhere to plastics causing ecological disruption. So there are possible synergistic adverse effects of these contaminants on ecological health. They may be accumulated in organisms especially, aquatic predators and transferred in the food web. Some human health risks of include eye and respiratory tract irritation, acute skin rashes, birth defects, indigestion, liver dysfunction, among others. They may also release estrogenic compounds and so, have been classified as endocrine disruptors. They are potential carcinogens and may cause changes in insulin resistance, reproductive system and brain function.

This session therefore aims at inviting papers on emerging contaminants’ assessment, monitoring, remediation innovations and ecotoxicological assessments. It is hoped that the session will attract researchers from the African continent and beyond sharing their experiences in the field. The session is also expected to generate a network of researchers that may possibly collaborate on regional surveys.

Chairs: Onwurah I.N.E., Lawrence I. Ezemonye

This session is devoted to progress in the use of monitoring data obtained from microorganisms or cell cultures or other non-intrusive methods such as cybernetics in assessing pollution risks to man and the environment and quantification of impact in monetary terms.

Cybernetics and structured approach to biochemical processes in microbial cells offer the status of using various cell components as molecular markers in toxicity assay of environmental toxicants (Onwurah, 200).  More attention has been paid to the effects of toxic substances on the reproductive cycle in which mutagenesis and teratogenesis were the main foci. However, several efforts have been directed to supplementing animal testing with short-term screening test, many of them being based on DNA damage in bacteria (strand-breaks) and/or lipid per­oxidation and protein oxidation (Onwurah, 1999).

A short-term toxicity assay based on carbon dioxide evolution by Escherichia coli has been described (Jardim et al, 1990). Also, the toxicities of Nigerian crude oil samples have been compared based on the inability of the marker organism Nitrobacter to effectively reduce nitrate to nitrite (Okpokwasili and Odokuma, 1994), while Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) exertion phenomenon and glucose up­take kinetics of Azotobacter in crude oil polluted medium were modelled to assess toxicity (Onwurah, 1998).

The first potential site of toxic injury on a bacterial cell is the membrane lipid which regulates movement of solutes into and outside the cell. These membranes also anchor most of the enzymes involved in the metabolic pathways. Other potential sites of injury include proteins (enzymes) and DNA, the latter being responsible for cell division and genetics (Capone and Bauer, 1992). This im­plies that a more reliable assessment of toxicity must involve some or all these parameters, more especially for mixtures of unknown composition such as crude oil. Cyber­netics approach to modelling of microbial processes (Ramkrishna et al, 1992) is an approach that involves various cell components in quantitative monitoring and evaluation of environmental pollution. An empirical model can be derived from a basic picture of cybernetics and structured microbial processes based on the assumptions that dynamic phenomena such as DNA and protein syntheses may be altered by the interactions of a toxic substance in the growth environment. For example, interference in the biosynthesis of RNA of a bacterial cell resulted in an impulse transfer function which hinged on the sum of the elemental (substrate) distributions in the cell. For example, any event which will affect the monomers or pool from where RNA is synthesized will definitely affect RNA level and hence the final growth rate (Reuss, 1992).

Chairs: Otitoju Olawale, Udebuani Angela C., Otitoju Grace T.O

The quest to meet the food demand by the populace has led to increasing utilization of farm inputs such as pesticides and other chemicals used in the control of pests. Pesticide utilization in food production span through the entire process of production on the farm and consequently storage of agricultural products. Pesticides can affect farmers through exposure to the skin, eyes, inhalation or oral ingestion. Major risks of chemical exposure are cancer, birth defects and damage to the nervous system as well as possible damage to the environment by seeping into water or food chain. Similarly, indigenous biodiversity such as altering pollinating insect population and earthworm activities are affected which are often critical for crop yields. Although many types of pesticides, including some organochlorines are banned from importation, their sales and uses in most African countries is a vivid evidence of their continued existence in the ecosystem. The use of these chemicals has in no doubt improved the outputs of farmers and thereby increasing the revenue base of various household. This of course has led to lots of reported problems ranging from food poisoning by consumers, soil and water pollution which ultimately affects the health of other non-target organism. Increasing public concern about possible health risks from pesticide residues in the diet has been the subject of several research investigations, as well as issues of interests to regulatory bodies. Safety and quality concerns arising from chemicals/pesticides residues in foods require concerted research efforts from academia, industries and government in Africa. This session therefore aimed at inviting papers focussing on the adverse/subtle effects of chemicals/pesticide residues on the environment as well as the health of consumers of agricultural products.



Chair: Babasola Fateye

Twenty five years after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, how much progress has Africa as a continent made in achieving the proclamations of the landmark Earth Summit? According to the UN Environmental Programme, environmental factors contribute more than a quarter of Africa’s disease burden, with malaria one of the leading causes. The continent no doubt faces complex environmental problems that require evidence-based, multisectoral solutions.

What best practices have been developed in the many decades of collaborative problem-solving efforts for these problems? Given, for example, the magnitude of expenditure and programming for malaria control over the same period, sustainable use of resources begs the question: what infrastructure developed from past multi-sectoral efforts can be leveraged to tackle current the environmental challenges in Africa? Infrastructure in this context refers to the networks of individuals, technical expertise and data that cut across multiple sectors: local communities, civil society such as (e.g. NGO’s and advocacy groups), governmental agencies (regulatory, enforcement etc.), educational and research institutions and international donors.

The overall objective of this proposed session echoes the goal of SETAC Africa to “provide a forum for communication among professionals in government, business, academia and other segments of the environmental science community involved in the use, protection, and management of the environment, and the protection and welfare of the general public”. Specifically, the session seeks to showcase successful collaborations between any of the above sectors across the continent. Secondly, as environmental scientists, to deliberate on how we may engage the broader discussions of environmental health and sustainable development and how our research findings can provide critical evidence for on-going collaborative projects on the continent. Finally, it is aimed that this session may provide quorum representative of sectors across the continent to permit qualitative evaluation of the potential for collaboration among participants.

Chairs: Otitoju, O., Ezeji E.C., Onwurah I.N.E.

Crude oil exploration and mining operations in Africa are major contributing factors to the pollution of our environment. Their products are ubiquitous in various environmental compartments and can bioaccumulate in food chains leading to disruption of biochemical, behavioural and or physiological activities, thus causing lots of health problems as well as altered reproductive activities in exposed populations. The cause / effect of pollutants are usually quantified by using biological end point parameters referred to as biomarkers. Biochemical biomarkers are increasingly used in ecological risk assessment of the ecosystem to identify the incidence and effects of xenobiotics. This is because of their potential as rapid early warning signal against potentially damaging effects caused by stressor. Ideally, biochemical biomarkers will identify effects at a subcellular level before they are apparent at higher levels of biological organization.

Environmental contamination arising from mining operations and crude oil spills are limiting factors to survival of aquatic species and soil productivity. These deleterious effects make it mandatory to have a counter measure for the removal or reduction of pollutants in the environment. Therefore, the need to clean-up heavy metal and oil contaminated environment cannot be over emphasized.

Bioremediation of mining and petroleum hydrocarbon-contaminated environment using microorganisms are utilized under some specified conditions to ameliorate the negative effects in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly approach. The main strategies in bioremediation include bio-stimulation, nutrient application, bio-augmentation, seeding with competent or adapted hydrocarbono-clastic bacteria or their consortium and genetically engineered microbes are of great potentials in the clean-up process.


The fate of chemicals in the environment and their bioavailability affects the risks of contaminants. Recent advances in environmental exposure assessment have been gained in both modelling and monitoring efforts and in bioavailability assessments. New and more accurate fate models have been developed, isotope based techniques are used to trace the fate of chemicals, statistical tools for interpreting monitoring data have been improved, and advances in analytical chemistry are continuously evolving for reliable identification of an increasing number of contaminants in the environment, including their degradation products. Several issues remain in exposure assessment, e.g. incomplete recoveries of contaminants are often found, the fate of nanoparticles and micro-plastics is still unclear and long-term and long-range behavior of contaminants in the environment have not been widely addressed. This session track is seeking proposals for sessions that address the state-of-the-science and new scientific developments in chemical or physical methodologies to measure or model concentrations, fate and bioavailability of contaminants, including modern approaches to improve the monitoring of contaminants and to follow their (bio)degradation and fluxes in the environment. This also includes proposals devoted to a better use of monitoring data in environmental sciences and ecological and human health risk assessment. We also welcome session proposals that merge models with observations and that cross various spatial and temporal scales in the environment. Obviously, we also welcome session proposals that enable presentation and discussion of new results, methods and insights on the more conventional chemical groups including (but not limited to) plant protection products, metals, surfactants, and persistent organic pollutants (POP’s).

Chairs: Melusi Thwala, Akpanabiatu Monday

In its original definition, ecotoxicology refers to the branch of toxicology dealing with the effects of pollutants on the components of ecosystems in an integrated way. In this session we especially welcome abstracts dealing with exposure, uptake and effects of toxicants in aquatic ecosystems, i.e. freshwaters, marine waters and transition waters (interface between land and sea, e.g., coastal waters and estuaries). This session therefore is intending to cover the different aspects of aquatic toxicology, i.e., (i) identification of the nature, level, distribution and sources of environmental contaminants, (ii) investigation of the dynamics of contaminants in abiotic and biotic compartments of aquatic ecosystems, (iii) assessment of the effects of contaminants on individuals, populations, and communities, and (iv) evaluation of alterations in the structure and functions of aquatic ecosystems.

Chairs: Olorunfemi Dan, Enock Dankyi

Wildlife toxicology is driven by chemical use and misuse, ecological disasters, and pollution-related events affecting wildlife, e.g. poisoning of birds from ingestion of spent lead shot and predator control agents, alkali poisoning of birds, effects of DDT and other pesticides in free-ranging and captive wildlife. Or more recently, the potential population-level effects of new and emerging compounds, such as pharmaceuticals, flame retardants, surfactants. This session seeks abstracts on the estimation and prediction of exposure and effects of chemical-related anthropogenic activities on wildlife and their supporting habitat. We also welcome abstracts dealing with exposure, uptake and effects of toxicants in terrestrial ecosystems, i.e., (i) identification of the nature, level, distribution and sources of environmental contaminants, (ii) investigation of the dynamics of contaminants in abiotic and biotic compartments of terrestrial ecosystems, (iii) assessment of the effects of contaminants on individuals, populations, and communities, and (iv) evaluation of alterations in the structure and functions of terrestrial ecosystems.

Chairs: Orish Ebere, Onwurah INE

This session welcomes abstracts dealing with exposure models and site-specific assessments, exposure and effect prediction in different systems, both human and the environment, and at different levels, including trophic magnification factors and QSARs, statistical approaches and mechanistic effect modelling, linking exposure and effects, system toxicology, “omics”, in vitro approaches and adverse outcome pathways.

Chairs: Silke Bollmohr, Charles Teta

Environmental risk assessment is the process to estimate the nature and probability of adverse health effects in ecosystems potentially exposed to single chemicals or mixtures and other stressors. Various methods are developed and used within risk assessment schemes that are quite specific for ecosystem health. This session will therefore gather abstracts with a focus on scientific and technological aspects of hazard and risk assessment but also in the context of chemical regulation and environmental policy. Risk management can be prospective, i.e. taking decisions based on predicting effects of and exposure to chemicals in consumer products, biocides, plant protection products, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals etc., or retrospective, i.e. focusing on monitoring chemicals and mitigating their effects in the environment (fresh or marine waters, soil etc.). The session aims to bring together scientists from academic research, industry, regulatory authorities and policy makers, in a platform for joint discussions. Topics which may be viewed as controversial, and which help to foster the knowledge transfer between the different groups, or which present tools and approaches (laboratory, field studies, modelling) delivering solutions for regulatory risk assessment and management are especially welcome. Abstracts linking assessment of chemicals and other stressors to social and economic impacts in regulatory decision-making are also welcome. An area often underestimated is the proper communication to various stakeholders (including the general public) of environmental risks and their assessment, which supports environmental policy and the public in forming scientifically valid perceptions of hazards and facilitates implementation of suitable risk management measures.

Chairs: Enock Dankyi, Doherty Funmilayo

Environmental contamination can result in impacts that may be either reversible or irreversible to the society. Environmental contamination may affect community health, occupational health and safety, labour and working conditions, as well as indigenous peoples that are often closely tied to their traditional customary lands and natural resources. This often creates a great deal of uncertainty and doubt about the appearance and risks of elevated levels of chemicals in the nearby environment. This session will unravel how scientific environmental knowledge of societal actors can be increased by identifying natural alignments between societal and scientific communities. The session welcomes research and case studies that show how people can be encouraged to access high quality environmental science that informs decision makers. This session also seeks abstracts on discussion and dissemination strategies and tools for effective risk communication to a non-expert public.

Chairs: Patricia Fai, Orish Ebere

Integrated assessment methodologies and frameworks are increasingly needed in order to support the decision making process both in business and policy context. The complex interactions between environmental, economic and social issues related to sustainability require holistic evaluations. By adopting life cycle thinking and life cycle assessment (LCA), the appraisal of products and systems is conducted, which avoids the shifting of burdens from one impact to the other and from one life cycle stage to another. Within this session, abstracts are welcomed focusing on the main challenges and achievements in the field of LCA with focus on data availability, quality and interoperability, advancements in life cycle impact assessment models, uncertainties assessment and upscaling issues (when products go from the pilot lab phase to large-scale commercialized production), interpretation of results and complementarity of LCA with other impact assessment methodologies. In particular, we invite abstracts that discuss integration of recent developments in ecotoxicology and ecological risk assessment into LCA and environmental footprinting (EF).

Abstract submission guidelines:

  • Abstract must not promote a commercial product, process, or service.
  • Abstract should be clear and well written.
  • Authors should comply with instructions and deadlines provided with the call for abstracts.
  • The abstract should contain information and/or data that demonstrates that high quality science will be presented.
  • Information in the abstract should not have been previously published or presented.
  • By submitting an abstract you are agreeing to and understand that all presenters must pay for registration and attend the meeting.
  • The title should be no longer than 200 characters, while the abstract is limited to 2500 characters (INCLUDING SPACES).
  • Scientific Committee will select accepted abstracts by Wednesday 28 June.

How to submit:

  1. You must have a SETAC member account (paid) or SETAC non-member/guest account (free of charge): 

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  1. Enter the abstract submission module with your SETAC username and password, and fill all the required details.
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