Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 21, Issue 22, pp 12968–12978 | Cite as

Weighted species sensitivity distribution method to derive site-specific quality criteria for copper in Tai Lake, China

  • Rui Shi
  • Chunhui Yang
  • Runhua Su
  • Jiarui Jin
  • Yi Chen
  • Hongling LiuEmail author
  • John P. Giesy
  • Hongxia Yu
Research Article


Tai Lake (Ch: Taihu), which is the largest lake in Jiangsu province, China, has been affected by human activities. As part of a concerted effort to improve water quality to protect the integrity of the Tai Lake ecosystem, a water quality criterion (WQC) was developed for copper (Cu) II. The acute WQC was based on 440 values for acute toxicity of Cu to 24 species from 6 phyla, 16 families, and 20 genera. In addition, 255 values for chronic toxicity of Cu to 10 species from 5 phyla, 8 families, and 9 genera were used to derive chronic WQC. Instead of using a traditional approach based species sensitivity distributions (SSD), a weighted species sensitivity distribution (WSSD) approach was used to calculate the cumulative probability based on endemic species to Tai Lake. Acute and chronic WQC developed by use of the WSSD were 5.3 and 3.7 μg Cu/L, respectively. While the WQC values were comparable to those of other countries, there were slight differences due to variability in species composition of different regions. The site-specific criteria indicated that the current standard set for surface water by the Chinese government might not be protective of aquatic organisms in Tai Lake.


Weighted species sensitivity distributions Probabilistic Asia Model Statistics 



This work was jointly funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21377053 and 20977047), Major National Science and Technology Projects (No. 2012ZX07506-001 and 2012ZX07501-003-02). Prof. Giesy was supported by the program of 2012 “High Level Foreign Experts” (No. GDW20123200120) funded by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, the People’s Republic of China to Nanjing University, and the Einstein Professor Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He was also supported by the Canada Research Chair program, a Visiting Distinguished Professorship in the Department of Biology and Chemistry and State Key Laboratory in Marine Pollution, City University of Hong Kong. Great thanks to David Saunders, a vanier scholar in ecotoxicology studying in Toxicology Centre, University of Saskatchewan, for his time in polishing our manuscript.

Supplementary material

11356_2014_3156_MOESM1_ESM.docx (128 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 127 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rui Shi
    • 1
  • Chunhui Yang
    • 1
  • Runhua Su
    • 1
  • Jiarui Jin
    • 1
  • Yi Chen
    • 1
  • Hongling Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  • John P. Giesy
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Hongxia Yu
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of the EnvironmentNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences and Toxicology CentreUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory in Marine Pollution, Department of Biology and ChemistryCity University of Hong KongKowloonHong Kong

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