Learning outcomes of the course unit
To provide knowledge of the available methods to predict and monitor the impact of potentially harmful chemicals on natural ecosystems
Course contents summary
Part I: From toxicology to ecotoxicology
Analysis of toxic effects:
- acute, chronic and sublethal effects
- response: binary and continuous variables
- experimental design and analysis of concentration-response data
- limits of laboratory tests
Part II: Application in environmental toxicology
General criteria for selecting test types and methodology.
Toxicology of aquatic systems:
- tests with freshwater and marine organisms
- sediment toxicity tests.
Toxicology of terrestrial systems.
Biomarkers: principles and applications
Part III: Prediction of toxicity and environmental quality criteria
Quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSARs): principles and applications
Environmental quality criteria: the different approaches to their quantification
Toxicity identification and evaluation (TIE)
Part IV: Biodegradability and environmental fate
Physical-chemical properties of toxicants in predictive ecotoxicology.
Bioaccumulation, bioconcentration and biomagnification.
Part V: Risk assessment
General principles and applications.
Acute toxicity tests with freshwater invertebrates
o Recommended readings: Vighi M., Bacci E. (1998). Ecotossicologia. UTET, Torino
Calow P. (1994). Handbook of Ecotoxicology. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford. Vol. 1 and 2.
Oral lesson and laboratory
Assessment methods and criteria
Written report on results of laboratory activity and oral exam