Pilot studies

Every systematic review carried out by Mistra EviEM was preceded by a pilot study. This process helped EviEM to decide whether or not to conduct a full systematic review on the topic.

Pilot studies introduce the review topic in general. They also investigate whether or not literature reviews of the topic have already been carried out and if there is sufficient scientific literature on the topics for a systematic review. If a pilot study concluded that the topic was not suitable for a systematic review, the process ended with a published pilot study on EviEM’s website.

All EviEM pilot studies that were not followed by systematic reviews are listed below.

PS1  Uneven-aged forestry and fluxes of greenhouse gases

C. Bernes (2013): ”How are fluxes of greenhouse gases between boreal forest ecosystems and the atmosphere affected by uneven-aged forestry?”

Uneven-aged forestry (selective cutting) is often proposed as an environment-friendly alternative to the even-aged forestry (involving clearcutting) that now totally predominates in Sweden. One of several reasons is that the net emissions of carbon dioxide caused by clearcutting probably can be avoided in uneven-aged forestry.

However, EviEM’s pilot study concludes that a systematic review of the climatic significance of uneven-aged forestry is not feasible due to the almost complete lack of measurements of greenhouse-gas fluxes, carbon stores etc. in forests under such management.

PS2  Effects of pharmaceutical residues in water

M. Land (2013): ”What is the effect of pharmaceutical residues in water on aquatic biota?”

Pharmaceutical residues occur quite often in the marine environment. But what is known about their biological effects?

Mistra EviEM’s pilot study shows that few field studies have been conducted on the effects of pharmaceutical contaminants on marine organisms in the environment. The existing laboratory studies cover a very large number of active pharmaceutical substances, organisms that might come into contact with them, and various outcomes, but these studies are not really comparable. It is therefore difficult to analyse the scientific evidence through a systematic review.

PS3  Thiamine deficiency and declining bird populations in the Baltic Sea Region

B. Söderström (2013): ”Is thiamine deficiency a significant cause of declining bird populations in the Baltic Sea area?”

The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SWAM) commissioned Mistra EviEM to evaluate the current understanding of the link between a lack of vitamin B1 (thiamine) and the declining bird populations in the Baltic Sea region.

According to EviEM’s pilot study, current scientific evidence for the thiamine deficiency hypothesis is insufficient for conducting a systematic review on the thiamine deficiency hypothesis.

PS4  Biological mosquito control with VectoBac G

M. Land & M. Miljand (2014): ”Biological control of mosquitoes using Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis: a pilot study of effects on target organisms non-target organisms and humans”

On behalf of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mistra EviEM conducted a pilot study on different effects of biological mosquito control with the VectoBac G.

This pilot study showed that while much is already known about certain aspects of the control agent, there is still a lack of research on some of its other aspects. Nevertheless, two questions suitable for a systematic review could be identified from this study.

PS5  The effects of plastic particles in seawater

Shehada & M. Land (2014): ”What are the effects of plastic particles on growth and mortality of marine organisms?”

Today, many plastic particles are present in the marine environment and can affect marine organisms in different ways.

A systematic review of how, exactly, plastic particles in seawater affect marine biota has therefore been suggested by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SWAM). Few studies have investigated the effects of the exposure of marine organisms to plastic particles, especially on a wider scale or at the population level, and so Mistra EviEM does not recommend conducting a systematic review at the moment.