Overall objective of the course is to provide students with the knowledge to understand the meaning of ecotoxicological studies and to apply the ecotoxicological methods in the evaluation of toxicity of chemical substances and in environmental monitoring. Through the laboratory practice, competence in the application of toxicological methods and data analysis will be consolidated.
- Provide knowledge on methods, both experimental and predictive, applicable in the various fields of ecotoxicology;
- Provide knowledge about the correct use of toxicological methods, their potentialities and critical aspects;
- Develop the ability of understanding ecotoxicological studies through critical analysis of case studies;
- Develop competence through the realization of a laboratory toxicity test with an invertebrate model specieand the result processing, with the preparation of a technical-scientific report.
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 lessons and laboratory practice.
Assessment methods and criteria
Discussion of the technical-scientific report on results of laboratory activity (competence) and oral exam (knowledge).