Course code FMI310

FMI310 Environmental Pollutants and Ecotoxicology - with Term Paper

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2021 - 2022 .

Course responsible: Hans-Christian Teien
Teachers: Dag Anders Brede, Lindis Skipperud, Bjørn Olav Rosseland, Ole Martin Eklo, Deborah Helen Oughton, Brit Salbu, Knut Erik Tollefsen, Per Strand, Roland Peter Kallenborn
ECTS credits: 15
Faculty: Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Minimum 5 students in FMI309 and FMI310 total.
Teaching exam periods:
Teaching in January block, termpaper and exam in Spring parallel.
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2006-2007
Last time: 2022V
Preferential right:
Students in the programme: Environment and Natural Resources; M-MINA.
Course contents:

Lectures: Focus on natural and man-made sources that contribute to the contamination of trace metals, radionuclides and organic pollutants in air, water, sediments, soil and vegetation and how the contaminants forms and effect organisms up to and including man. Furthermore, terminology in toxicology and how early effects can be traced back to biomarker responses and how impact assessments are prepared as well as the information needed in order to be able to make such assessments. 

Laboratory course: The students practice water sampling and analyzing of water quality by techniques capable to be used in the field to evaluate possible impact of pollution. The students also practice tissue sampling for determination of contaminants in fish organs according to an international protocol. A certificate is issued for the sampling (voluntarily).

Term Paper: Students should make one term paper which should show broad knowledge on one central topic related to contaminants and ecotoxicology (completed individually). Student will have one short presentation about their term paper before delivery (compulsory).

Excursion: One day excursion to a research institute and an administrative authority with presentations and discussions on current topics in pollution and ecotoxicology.

Learning outcome:
The students will have knowledge of about sources contributing to pollution of metals and heavy metals, radionuclides and organic pollutants in nature, different species, mobility and transport processes in different ecosystems, biological uptake, bioaccumulation and biomagnification in organisms and physiological and biological effects. The students will understand the links between the speciation, mobility in ecosystem, biological uptake and bioaccumulation of environmental contaminants in living organisms, and the ecotoxicological effects on cell, organ, organism and population. Students will be able to assess the short and long-term impact on man and the environment from contamination, and for some pollutants evaluate alternative countermeasures to reduce the impact in different ecosystems. Students will also be introduced to modern analytical techniques applied within the field. The students will understand that nature is fragile and that we need to consider the long-term effects of pollutants to prevent negative ecotoxicological effects.
Learning activities:

Environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology are experimental disciplines, lectures, colloquia and exercises are closely integrated. The lectures give a theoretical background for the practical training.

Lectures: focus on naturally occurring and anthropogenic sources contributing to contamination of different ecosystems, soil, water, vegetation, animals etc. The speciation of contaminants influences the mobility and biological uptake, and effects in organisms, and might change by time. In colloquia selected topics will be discussed and presented by the students. Practical exercises include demonstrations of sampling and fractionation techniques for contaminants in water, and dissection of fish.  The term paper should reflect broad knowledge about contaminants and ecotoxicological effects. The lectures, colloquia and practical training will be in January block, while term paper will be in the spring parallel.

Teaching support:
Discussions in colloquia and assistance through laboratory courses. Supervision associated with the selected term papers (literature). Recordings of lectures are placed on CANVAS as far as possible. Lecturers are available for questions..
Environmental Chemistry, a global perspective. Gary W. vanLoonand Stephen J. Duffy. Oxford University Press, 4th edition 2017. Chapters 1, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19 and 20. Principles of Ecotoxicology, C.H. Walker, R.M. Sibly, S.P. Hopkin, and D.B. Peakall. Taylor and Francis. 4th edition, 2012.350 p. Handouts from lectures. Supporting literature: Selected articles, published in international journals.
Prerequisites: - General chemistry , - Pollution - Environment or equivalent.

Recommended prerequisites:
Mandatory activity:
Compulsory participation at first lecture and in certain activities. All compulsory activities vil be specified at the beginning of the semester. Presentation of termpaper is compulsory.

Portfolio assessment:

  • Term paper counts 1/3.
  • Written exam (in April) counts 2/3.

Both exam and term paper must be passed to pass the course.

Grading system A-E / Not passed.

Nominal workload:
375 hours.
Entrance requirements:
Special requirements in Science
Reduction of credits:
10 credits reduction with FMI309
Type of course:
Lectures: 58 hours. Colloquia: 4 hours. Practical exercises: 10 hours. Excursion: 9 hours. Term paper: 125 hours.
The course is compulsory for Master students in Environmental Contaminants and Ecotoxicology. The course is recommended for Master students in Chemistry: Environmental Chemistry, Management of Natural Resources, Food Science and Aquaculture, og for Master in Radioecology.
An external examiner will evaluate the examinations and Term Paper.
Allowed examination aids: A1 No calculator, no other aids
Examination details: Portfolio: Letter grades