Full Title:Ecotoxicology
Module Code:53598
Credits: 5
Valid From:Semester 1 - 2014/15 ( September 2014 )
Module Delivered in 1 programme(s)
Module Description:This module will introduce students to the principles of ecotoxicology by examining the effects of toxic chemicals on organisms at different organisational levels from individual to ecosystem. An overview will be provided of the principal types of environmental contaminants and their fate and transport within the environment. Common methods and approaches of detection and assessment of environmental contaminants will be examined. Emphasis will be placed on ecotoxicological testing and other approaches used to evaluate the environmental risk of chemicals.
Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of this module the learner should be able to
  1. Appraise the fundamental concepts of ecotoxicology.
  2. Assess the main types of environmental contaminant including their sources and pathways into the environment.
  3. Evaluate the effects of chemicals at different levels of biological organisational hierarchy (DNA to populations).
  4. Design, set up, sample and perform laboratory toxicity tests and critically synthesise ecotoxicological data from the scientific literature.

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
Introduction to Principals of Ecotoxicology
Basic concepts in ecotoxicology, types of toxic pollutants and routes of entry, inorganic and organic pollutants, organometal compounds, nanoparticles, mechanistic basis of ecotoxicology.
Fate and transport of chemicals in the environment
Origin of pollutants, fate and distribution of pollutants in the environment including land and water, environmental persistence, biodegradability, environmental factors affecting toxicity, biological transformations, bioaccumulation and bioavailability.
Fate of pollutants in individuals and ecosystems
Types of toxicity, processes of uptake, acute, chronic, lethal, sub-lethal and cumulative effects, biochemical, physiological, behavioural and morphological reactions to pollution, teratogenesis, mutagenesis and carcinogenesis, principles of dose-response, tolerance and regulation, reactions to pollution stress, endocrine disruption.
Monitoring and ecotoxicological test systems
Regulatory requirements and EU legislation, principles of environmental risk, quantification of the effects of risk factors, the effects of pollutants and the methods used to assess these effects at different organisational levels, ecosystem, community, population, whole organism, tissue, cellular and subcellular, biomarkers used to monitor pollutant effects, in vivo and in vitro bioassays, methods of measuring the effects of pollution, measuring toxicity using test organisms; bacteria, algae, Daphnia, Artemia, bivalves, fish and crustaceans, LC50, EC50, NOEC, toxicity curves, lethal dose studies, behavioural change, morphological change, growth and development, field studies, mesocosms.
Sample Practicals
Toxicity tests in the laboratory using standard test algae, determination of the LC50 of a pollutant using test organism e.g. Artemia/Daphnia, effect of a pollutant on the osmoregulatory ability of the lugworm, effects of a a heavy metal pollutant in sediments on the burrowing behaviour of marine bivalves, measurement of the biodegradability of a pollutant.
Assessment Breakdown%
Course Work40.00%
End of Module Formal Examination60.00%

Full Time

Course Work
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Marks Out Of Pass Marks Assessment Date Duration
Written Report Each student will be asked to evaluate a case study on some aspect of ecotoxicology. The study will be presented using one of a number of different possile methods e.g. type-written report, poster or oral presentation. 1,2,3 10.00 0 0 Week 6 0
Practical/Skills Evaluation Practicals 4 30.00 0 0 Every Week 0
No Project
No Practical
End of Module Formal Examination
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Marks Out Of Pass Marks Assessment Date Duration
Formal Exam End-of-Semester Final Examination 1,2,3 60.00 0 0 End-of-Semester 120

DKIT reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload & Resources

Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Workload Description Hours Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Lecture No Description 3.00 Every Week 3.00
Practical No Description 2.00 Every Week 2.00
Independent Study No Description 4.00 Every Week 4.00
Total Weekly Learner Workload 9.00
Total Weekly Contact Hours 5.00
This course has no Part Time workload.
Recommended Book Resources
  • C.H. Walker, R.M. Silby, S.P. Hopkin, D.B. Peakal 2012, Principles of Ecotoxicology, 1st Ed., CRC Press (Taylor a Francis Grp) FL, USA [ISBN: 978-1-4398-62]
  • D.W. Connell 1999, Introduction to Ecotoxicology, 3rd Ed., Blackwell Sciences UK [ISBN: 0632038527]
Supplementary Book Resources
  • Tim Sparks 2000, Statistics in Ecotoxicology, Wiley New York [ISBN: 047196851X]
  • F. Moriarty 1999, Ecotoxicology: The Study of Pollutants in Ecosystems, 3rd Ed., Academic Press London [ISBN: 0125067631]
  • Rachel L. Carson 2002, Silent Spring, Mariner Book Houghton Mifflin Company Boston [ISBN: 0618-24906-05]
This module does not have any article/paper resources
This module does not have any other resources

Module Delivered in

Programme Code Programme Semester Delivery
DK_SENVI_8 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Environmental Bioscience 7 Mandatory