The teaching aims to provide students with the principles of ecotoxicology, giving basic information on the main environmental contaminants, the processes that regulate their distribution in ecosystems and their toxicity towards living organisms.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the teaching the student will be able to discriminate among the different types of contaminants, their fate in the environment and potential risk to ecosystems. The student will acquire the skills useful to plan intervention strategies to monitor contamination and / or to assess the toxicity of contaminants.
Lesson period: First semester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
The term ecotoxicology derives from the words ecology and toxicology and identifies an area of study concerning with the harmful effects of chemicals within the context of ecology. Ecotoxicology is a discipline whose main goals are the study of the occurrence, distribution, fate and harmful effects of chemicals towards organism at different levels of the ecological hierarchy, from the sub-individual up to ecosystem level. The course Principles of Ecotoxicology aims to provide the students with a general overview on the main issues in the field of ecotoxicology. First, it will deal with the main classes of environmental contaminants, with particular emphasis on the so-called emerging contaminants. Then, topics related to the occurrence, the distribution and the fate of such contaminants in diverse environmental matrices will be elucidated, including the dynamics regulating the process of accumulation and the metabolism of xenobiotics within organisms. Lastly, after introducing the concept of toxicity, the main experimental approaches used to assess the toxicity of environmental contaminants towards both aquatic and terrestrial organisms will be illustrated.
Prerequisites for admission
Basics of ecology are required.
Course delivery methods will be based on interactive lectures supported by projected material (Slides). The slides will be provided on the ARIEL website of the teaching. The students will be involved in the discussion of the topics of the teaching to improve their critical skills, reworking the concepts acquired and communicating the concepts appropriately.
Reference Material: 1) Vighi, M. & Bacci, E. (1998). Ecotossicologia. UTET. 2) Walker, C. H., Sibly, R. M., Hopkin, S. P., & Peakall, D. B. (2012). Principles of ecotoxicology. CRC press.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Verification of student preparation consists of an oral exam whereby some questions related to the diverse topics covered during the teaching course will be asked.