3540.20 - Ecotoxicology and pollution

Course number
Ecotoxicology and pollution
A) Admitted to the bachelor programme in biology at the University of the Faroe Islands, and following the normal study progression or B) Students following single courses need to have sufficient background in chemistry and biology, like: 3512 General and inorganic chemistry; 3513 Organic chemistry; 3514 Biochemistry; Introduction to biology; Terrestrial ecology; Aquatic ecology and marine biology; Field course in aquatic and terrestrial ecology.
To provide the students with knowledge of ecotoxicology and anthropogenic pollutions, and the interactions between the pollutants, the environment and living organisms.
Ecotoxicology and anthropogenic pollutants like DDT, PCB, dioxin, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, acidifying substances, heavy metals, tributyl tin, hormone mimics, nitrate and nitrite, pesticides, plastic, radioactive substances, pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, and other pollutants. The sources of pollutants, transport routes in the environment, mechanisms of transport. Examples of uptake of pollutants in the organisms, their metabolism, mode of action and excretion. Regulatory toxicology.
Learning and teaching approaches
Lectures. Problem solving. Discussions. Student presentations.
Learning outcomes
Having past the course, the student is able to: 1. Describe the most basic concepts of toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics, and the processes involved. 2. Describe the factors and parameters involved in ecotoxicology and their importance. This includes knowledge of sources, environmental transport pathways, biotic and abiotic transformation and degradation, bioaccumulation, enzyme induction. 3. Explain the impact of pollutants on individuals and populations. 4. Describe the steps and parameters involved in risk assessment of a single compound and perform a simple assessment of risk of a compound. 5. Briefly describe REACH and its tiered approach. 6. Describe the influence of persistent organic pollutants, like DDT, PCB, dioxin, pesticides and other halogenated compounds, in the environment and in organisms. 7. Describe the influence of heavy metals, in particular mercury, lead and cadmium in the environment and in organisms. 8. Briefly describe oil as an environmental pollutant. 9. Briefly describe radioactivity as a natural phenomenon and as pollution. 10. Briefly describe acidification of aquatic compartments and its impact on the environment. 11. Describe the environmental nutrient nitrate, and the source(s) and negative impact. 12. Describe examples of hormone mimics/endocrine disruptors which occurs as anthropogenic pollutants. Explain how they act using examples from different organisms, and how their mechanism can be analysed in the laboratory. 13. Briefly describe the effects of pharmaceuticals and additives in personal care products in the environment. 14. Briefly describe examples of metals as pollutants. 15. Briefly describe a few examples of newer and emerging pollutants. 16. Briefly describe plastic as an environmental pollutant.
Assessment method
Four-hour written examination. No auxiliary materials allowed.
Marking scale
Poul Bjerregaard: Økotoksikologi, 5. udgave. Gyldendal 2013. ISBN 978-87-02-14059-0 Hand-outs
Jónrit Halling