Reuter, Hauke ORCID:, Schmidt, Gunther, Schröder, Winfried, Middelhoff, Ulrike, Pehlke, Hendrik and Breckling, Broder (2011) Regional distribution of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)—Up-scaling the dispersal and persistence potential of herbicide resistant oilseed rape (Brassisca napus). Ecological Indicators, 11 (4). pp. 989-999. DOI

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Most genetically modified (GM) crop plants are designed to be grown on large areas. However, empirical investigations for risk assessment are limited in their temporal and spatial extent. In the case of GM crop plants it is difficult to test the relevance of anticipated risks on the same spatial scale as the intended use. Processes which are difficult to assess experimentally include combinatory effects, interactions between different integration levels, persistence, long distance dispersal and occurrence of rare events. To a limited extent, it is possible to combine results of investigations on small spatial scales in a way that large-scale and long-term implications on the regional scale can be analysed by using modelling and extrapolation approaches. It is thus possible to indicate some of the involved risks which are not accessible otherwise.

In this paper we present the results of an extrapolation methodology comprising several scales from the field size up to the landscape level. This methodology aimed at analysing the implications of a large-scale release of genetically modified oilseed rape (GM OSR). The approach consisted of an extrapolation scheme beginning with a landscape analysis which generated representative scenarios considering climate and OSR cultivation characteristics. For the spatial extent of several fields this information was applied in an individual-based model representing ontogeny, dispersal and persistence of cultivated, volunteers and feral oilseed rape. In a final step, simulation results were extrapolated to the region of Northern Germany.

Here we focus on the model results which were extrapolated to the regional level by applying a set of ecological indicators which allowed to assess potential implications on this level. These indicators included the number and distribution of flowering GM plants and the dynamics of GM OSR seeds in the soil seedbank. Specific results related to the long-term dynamics in the seedbank and volunteer development. Model results emphasise the long-term consequences of GM OSR cultivation and the explicit necessity to regard high variability in potential GMO admixture. This has to be considered when developing landscape management schemes for co-existence.

The extrapolation approach presented here, integrates different traits to assess effects of GMOs on large spatial scales with respect to persistence and dispersal. The developed methodology is equally applicable for other crops, regions and different agricultural conditions.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Integrated Modelling > Spatial Ecology and Interactions
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 1470160X
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2019 17:09
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 13:00

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