The evaluation of effects of toxicants on a wildlife community can be complicated by varying responses among the community's constituent populations. Even within populations, considerable variability in dose-response relations may result from different avenues of exposure to the toxicant. Full scale investigations of the dose-response relations among a variety of species and avenues of exposure can therefore be prohibitively expensive, whether this expense is measured by the number of experimental animals needed, by the human resources committed to the study, or by laboratory expenses. We propose an abbreviated protocol for investigations of multiple dose-response relations that is designed to limit these expenses. The protocol begins with the judicious choice of a baseline dose-response relation to be estimated by a full scale study involving a minimum of 5 doses levels, with 10 subjects per dose level. This relation is then used as the basis for rapid screening of subsequent dose-response relations, which are compared to the baseline relation by testing for differences in the median effective dosages. These secondary studies can consist of as few as 14 animals exposed to the estimated LC50 from the baseline study. We describe MS-DOS compatible software available from the authors which can be used to analyze these data.
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A resource conservative procedure for comparison of dose-response relationships