FMI310 Environmental Pollutants and Ecotoxicology

Credits (ECTS):10

Course responsible:Hans-Christian Teien

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Engelsk

Limits of class size:Minimum 5

Course frequency:Annually

Nominal workload:250 hours.

Teaching and exam period:This course starts in Spring parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Spring parallel.

About this course

The course 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 gives a comprehensive understanding in how speciation and mobility influence uptake and transfer of pollutants (metals, radionuclides and organic pollutants) in ecosystems and on how pollutants can affect organisms up to and including man. The course links principles of environmental chemistry and toxicology from bachelor courses to a comprehensive understanding between chemical speciation, bioavalibility, uptake, modes of toxic action and effects over various biological levels and the influence of environmental factors on the toxic effects. Furthermore, how risk assessments are conducted, legislation acts as well as the information required for such assessments.

Learning outcome

  • Students will acquire advanced knowledge about principles of ecotoxicology and the main challenges in the field.
  • Students will have in-depth knowledge of main pollution sources in the environment ( e.g., metals and heavy metals, radionuclides and organic pollutants), about typical concentration levels, different species, mobility and transport processes in different ecosystems, biological uptake, bioaccumulation and biomagnification in organisms and physiological and biological effects.
  • 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 be introduced to modern analytical techniques applied within the field, and how ecotoxicological tools are used to evaluate risks and to identify chemical compounds being of main importance to the total cumulative effect and how effects can be identified by biomarkers.
  • Students will acquire an understanding of why assessments of long-term effects of pollutants is required to prevent negative impact onto vulnerable ecosystems.
  • 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 (toxicokinetic), and effects in organisms (toxicodynamic). Toxic effects from molecular to population and ecosystems, responses and multiple species and life stage concept. Mixtures and multiple stressors and cumulative effects. Risk assessments.

    Colloquia on selected topics to be discussed and presented by the students.

    Practical exercises include:

    • Water sampling and analyzing of water quality to be used in the field to evaluate possible impact of pollution.
    • Tissue sampling for determination of contaminants in fish organs according to an international protocol. A certificate is issued for the sampling (voluntarily). 

    Case study:  Assessment of pollution and risks based on data from measurements of contaminants and biomarkers in aquatic ecosystem - group presentation. 

  • Discussions in colloquia and assistance through laboratory courses. Lecturers are available for questions..
  • MILJØ200 or FMI210
  • Final written exam 3,5 hours.

    Grading system A-E / Not passed.

    Portfolio Grading: Letter grades One written exam Grading: Letter grades Permitted aids: A1 No calculator, no other aids
  • External examiner participates in preparing the examination questions and sensor guidelines in the course.
  • Compulsory participation at first lecture, case study and in certain activities. All compulsory activities will be specified at the start of the semester.
  • Lectures: 58 hours. Colloquia: 4 hours. Practical exercises: 10 hours. Case study: 4 hours.
  • Special requirements in Science