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Making sense of ecotoxicity test results

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DEBtox information

E-books / Making sense ...

Information about "Making sense ..."

This page contains information about the e-book "Making sense of chemical stress" on the application of Dynamic Energy Budget theory in ecotoxicology and stress ecology. This book forms a gentle introduction in the concepts behind DEB theory, and how to apply them in practice. The book is completely "math-free"; the equations and derivations are available in a separate technical document that can be downloaded below. The first version of this book was made available April 9, 2012.

The book is offered through the Leanpub publishing framework. It can still be downloaded for free, but you also have the option to pay for it. Please consider this option, for it will allow me to dedicate time and effort to updating this e-book, writing new ones, and the supporting software.

Download the e-book from Leanpub (version 2.0 of 9 May 2019, PDF) or check out the first 10 pages here.

  Check the version log for changes relative to the previous version.

The associated technical document contains the raw math, with little explanation, so it's for the die-hards! Note that this technical document is no longer up to date. Most strikingly: it still links effects to internal concentrations, whereas the e-book (in line with GUTS and DEBkiss) always positions 'damage' in between. This will be updated at some point (when I have some time).

Download the technical document (version Beta 1.2 of 14 August 2015, PDF 1.3 Mb)

  Check the version log for changes relative to the previous version.

  Check out the book review by Sandrine Charles in IEAM: 

Note about version 2.0 of the e-book.
With the development of GUTS, and especially the e-book update of 8 Dec. 2018, Roman Ashauer and myself have established a highly consistent outline for TKTD models. This outline places the concept of 'damage' in a central position. We strongly feel that it is now time to use the same general outline for DEB-based models as well. This was already included in the update of the DEBkiss e-book, but now also in this e-book (however, not yet in the associated technical document).

How do I refer to the book?

Please refer to the Leanpub page ( with the version of the PDF. For more specific citations, you could refer to the published papers in the open literature, such as:
  • Jager T, Heugens EHW, Kooijman SALM (2006). Making sense of ecotoxicological test results: towards application of process-based models. Ecotoxicology 15:305-314. DOI 10.1007/s10646-006-0060-x (general DEBtox principles)
  • Jager T, Vandenbrouck T, Baas J, De Coen WM, Kooijman SALM (2010). A biology-based approach for mixture toxicity of multiple endpoints over the life cycle. Ecotoxicology 19:351-361. DOI 10.1007/s10646-009-0417-z (toxicants in full DEB model)
  • Jager T, Albert C, Preuss T, Ashauer R (2011). General Unified Threshold model of Survival - a toxicokinetic-toxicodynamic framework for ecotoxicology. Environ Sci Technol 45:2529-2540. DOI 10.1021/es103092a (effects on survival only)
  • Jager T, Zimmer EI (2012). Simplified Dynamic Energy Budget model for analysing ecotoxicity data. Ecol Mod. 225:74-81 DOI 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2011.11.012 (simplified DEBtox model with statistical framework)
  • Jager T, Martin BT, Zimmer EI (2013). DEBkiss or the quest for the simplest generic model of animal life history. Journal of Theoretical Biology 328:9-18. DOI 10.1016/j.jtbi.2013.03.011 (simplified DEBkiss model)
  • Jager T (2020). Revisiting simplified DEBtox models for analysing ecotoxicity data. Ecol Modell 416:108904. (based on DEBkiss)

Why is the technical document so difficult to read?

Sorry for that. You should treat this document as a reference, not as something to 'read.' It also acts as an archive for me; a place to store derivations (so that I do not have to derive them again). I put a lot of effort in making the e-book as readable as possible, but at this moment I lack the time and motivation to do the same with the technical document. Nevertheless, I hope this document is useful, in conjunction with the e-book and the papers in the literature.

Where can I find software to do 'DEBtox' analysis?

Matlab-based software packages are offered the software pages.

The DEBtox information site,, since July 2011