Foundations of ecotoxicology

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
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.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
More specific information on the delivery modes of training activities for academic year 2021/22 will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of the public health situation.
Course syllabus
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
Principles of ecology are required.
Teaching methods
Course delivery methods will be based on interactive lectures supported by 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.
Teaching Resources
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
The verification of learning will take place through an oral examination, whereby some questions related to the topics discussed during the teaching course will be asked.
BIO/07 - ECOLOGY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Parolini Marco
Educational website(s)