Faculty - Forbes

Valery E. Forbes, Professor & Director

Valery Forbes

Valery E. Forbes
Professor & Director

School of Biological Sciences
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
348 Manter Hall, 1104 T Street
Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0118
Office: 402-472-6676

Research Interests

My main goals are to understand the linkages between individual- and population-level responses to environmental stress and to use such understanding to improve ecological risk assessment and environmental management. Most of my work has involved aquatic invertebrates, and in particular animals that live in and feed on sediment.

My current research activities focus on linking modelling and empirical approaches for studying population dynamics and are at the interface of quantitative ecology and environmental management. Through this work we intend to identify the optimal modelling approaches for different kinds of population-level questions in terms of degree of sophistication and complexity required. A very central question is to determine how much complexity is needed in the models and how to communicate this effectively to various stakeholders.

I am currently participating in a European Union grant to study ‘The reactivity and toxicity of engineered nanoparticles: risks to the environment and human health’ (NanoReTox; 1 Dec 2008 - 30 Nov 2012; http://www.nanoretox.eu) with 11 partner organizations. My group's role in NanoReTox is to explore the bioavailability and toxicity of engineered metallo-nanoparticles for sediment-dwelling organisms.

I am also participating in a European Union Initial Training Network on ‘Mechanistic effect models for ecological risk assessment of chemicals’ (CREAM; 1 Sep 2009 - 31 Aug 2012; http://cream-itn.eu/), with 12 partner organizations. The overall aims of CREAM are to: 1) Formulate and test guidance for Good Modeling Practice that ensures transparent and reliable decision support for chemical risk assessment; 2) Develop a suite of well-tested and validated mechanistic ecological effect models for a range of organisms and ecosystems relevant for chemical risk assessments; and 3) Provide world-class training for the next generation of modelers, emphasizing transparency and rigorous model evaluation as core elements of models for decision support.


  • *Hamda NT, Forbes VE, Stark J, Laskowski R. (submitted). Stochastic density dependent matrix model for extrapolating individual-level effects of chemicals to the population; Case study on effects of Cd on Folsomia candida. Ecol Model
  • *Forbes VE, Calow P. (submitted). Complexity and relevance in ERA: Why and how they need to be addressed. Integr Environ Assess Manag.
  • *Hunka A, Palmqvist A, Thorbek P, Forbes VE. (submitted). Risk communication discourse among ecological risk assessment professionals and its implications for communication with non-experts. Integr Environ Assess Manag.
  • *Forbes VE, Calow P. (in press). The use of the ecosystem services concept in ecological risk assessment. Integr Environ Assess Manag.
  • *Pang C, Selck H, Banta GT, Forbes VE. (submitted). Toxicokinetics of aqueous Cu and Nano-CuO particles in the snail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum. Ecotoxicology
  • *Cong Y, Banta GT, Selck H, Berhanu D, Valsami-Jones E, Forbes VE. (submitted). Toxic effects and bioaccumulation of sediment-associated silver nanoparticles in the estuarine polychaete, Nereis (Hediste) diversicolor. Environ Sci Technol.
  • *Pang C, Selck H, Misra SK, Berhanu D, Dybowska A, Valsami-Jones E, Forbes VE. (submitted). Bioaccumulation and effects of copper from sediment amended with aqueous Cu, nano-CuO og micro-CuO to the deposit-feeding snail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum. Environ Toxicol Chem.
  • *Meli M, Auclerc A, Palmqvist A, Forbes VE, Grimm V. 2013 Population-level consequences of spatially heterogeneous exposure to heavy metals in soil: an individual-based model of springtails. Ecol Model 250: 338-351.
  • *Hunka A, Meli M, Thit A, Palmqvist A, Thorbek P, Forbes VE. 2013. Stakeholders’ perspectives on ecological modeling in environmental risk assessment of pesticides – challenges and opportunities. Risk Analysis. 33: 68-79.
  • *Forbes VE, Calow P. 2012. Promises and problems for the new paradigm for risk assessment and an alternative approach involving predictive systems models. Environ Toxicol Chem. 31: 2663-2671.
  • *Dai L, Selck H, Salvito D, Forbes VE. 2012. Fate and effects of acetyl cedrene in sediments inhabited by the deposit feeder, Capitella teleta. Environ Toxicol Chem. 31: 2639-2646.
  • Forbes VE, Calow P. 2012. Ecotoxicology. In: Sourcebook in Theoretical Ecology; Hastings A, Gross L. (eds), University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.
  • *Galic N, Schmolke A, Forbes VE, Baveco H, van den Brink P. 2012. The role of ecological models in linking ecological risk assessment to ecosystem services in agroecosystems. Sci Tot Environ415: 93-100.
  • * Nienstedt K, Brock T, van Wensem J, Montforts M, Hart A, Hardy A, Aagaard A, Alix A, Boesten J, Bopp SK, Brown C, Capri E, Forbes VE, Köpp H, Liess M, Luttik R, Maltby L, Sousa P, Streissl F. 2012. Developing specific protection goals for environmental risk assessment of pesticides using an ecosystem services approach. Sci Tot Environ 415: 31-38.