1. General Model Information

Name: ECOFATE An environmental risk assessment software package for Microsoft Windows

Acronym: ECOFATE

Main medium: terrestrial + aquatic
Main subject: biogeochemistry
Organization level: ecosystem
Type of model: ordinary differential equations
Main application:
Keywords: chemical emissions, point and non-point sources, water quality, lakes, rivers, marine ecosystems, food-chain accumulation, risk assessment


Dr. F. Gobas
School of Resource and Environmental Management
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby British Colombia
Canada, V7K 1S6
Phone: +1 604-291-5928
Fax : +1 604-291-4968
email: gobas@SFU.CA


Gobas, F.


EcoFate is an integrated environmental fate and food-chain accumulation model for conducting ecosystem based environmental and ecological risk assessments of chemical emissions by point and non-point sources in freshwater and marine aquatic ecosystems, including lakes, rivers and marine inlets.

EcoFate is designed to assess the cumulative impact of chemical inputs in terms of contaminant concentrations in water, sediment and biota of an entire ecosystem and to interpret these concentrations in terms of exceedance of environmental criteria and standards, potential for toxic effects in biota of the ecosystem and risks to human beings exposed to contaminated fish products or contaminated water.

EcoFate consists of a combination of an environmental fate, food-web bioaccumulation, toxicological hazard, and human health risk assessment model, which are integrated to directly relate chemical emissions to concentrations, toxic effects and human health risks. Each of the models is based on best available knowledge of the mechanisms of chemical distribution, toxicity and risk. The assessments can be done on a time-dependent and time-independent (i.e. steady-state) basis.

The model is based on the numerical solution of a set differential equations, each representing the flux of the chemical in each environmenal compartment as a function of the kinetic rate constants for chemical transport and transformation. Important parameters for using the model include (1) data regarding the configuration of the ecosystem (dimensions, flow, temperature, resuspension and sedimentation rates), (2) the weights, lipid contents and feeding preferences of aquatic organisms and (3) the octanol-water partition coefficient, the dissociation constant and the Henry's Law Constant of the chemical substance. The model contains various algorithms to derive feeding rates, gill ventilations rates in fish, uptake and elimination rate constants of organic chemicals in giota, volatilization rate constants, biovailability and others.

Model purpose
The main purpose of EcoFate is to investigate whether existing or planned chemical emissions can be expected to pose an ecological or human health risk, meet environmental quality standards or criteria and to identify the “assimilative capacity” of ecosystems for chemical substances in terms of maximum daily loadings.

Abstract Reference:

  • ECOFATE Home Page
  • Joergensen S.E., B. Halling-Soerensen and S.N Nielsen (Edts.) 1996: Handbook of Environmental and Ecological Modelling. CRC Press Boca Raton et al. 672 pp.

    II. Technical Information

    II.1 Executables:

    Operating System(s): DOS, Windows 3.0 or 3.1 ef-10b1.zip (666 KB)

    II.2 Source-code:

    Programming Language(s):

    II.3 Manuals:

    II.4 Data:

    Aquatic ecosystem data files for EcoFate:
  • burrard.zip (10.2 KB)
  • fraser.zip (13.5 KB)
  • thompson.zip (4.4 KB)

    III. Mathematical Information

    III.1 Mathematics

    III.2 Quantities

    III.2.1 Input

    III.2.2 Output

    IV. References

    Gobas, F. A. P. C., 1992. Ecol. Modelling, 69: 1-17.
    Gobas, F. A. P. C., 1992. Modelling the accumulation and toxic impacts of organic chemicals in aquatic food-chains. In: Chemical Dynamics in Fresh Water Ecosystems (Gobas, F. A. P. C. and J. A. McCorquodale, Eds.), Lewis Publishers, Boca Ratan, FC, pp. 129-153.

    V. Further information in the World-Wide-Web

    VI. Additional remarks

    Last review of this document by: T. Gabele: 28. September 1997 -
    Status of the document:
    last modified by Tobias Gabele Wed Aug 21 21:44:42 CEST 2002

    Go back to Register of Ecological Models (R E M)