• ECTS

    5 credits

  • Component

    Collège Sciences et Technologies pour l’Energie et l’Environnement (STEE)


The aim of this course is to give the students an introduction to environmental science and ecotoxicology, and to contribute to the student's knowledge about how pollutant chemicals released in nature may cause adverse effects in organsisms, populations and ecosystems.

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By the end of this course, students will
1) Know the different classes of pollutants, major sources of pollution, the environmental behaviour and fate of pollutants in ecosystems
2) Understand how toxicants interact with and impact biological organisms. We will learn about mechanisms of toxicity, how organisms accumulate and excrete toxic compounds, and the effects of toxicants on individuals, populations, and whole ecosystems.
3) Know how ecotoxicology is measured in practice. We will learn about standardized toxicity tests, alternative testing strategies, and the use of quantitative modeling for Ecological Risk Assessment.
4) Be able to critically analyze primary scientific literature. Students will read ecotoxicology papers and identify important points and summary measurements for comparison within the literature on the same toxicant and between contaminants of interest. More importantly, students will be able to read these papers critically, understanding the limitations of certain measurements or assumptions and identifying potential weaknesses of the methodology or analysis.

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Course parts

  • Ecotoxicology CMLecture35h
  • Ecotoxicology TDTutorial15h


Water chemistry

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Knowledge check

1st : Continuous assessment

  • Written theory examination (60%)
  • Case study and oral presentation (40%)

2nd : Written exam

By completion of University Unit Evaluation Questionnaire by students, annual assessment by Unit Co-ordinator.

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Topics covered include:

  • Types of pollution, pollutants
  • Sources of pollutants
  • Reactivity and fate of pollutants in ecosystems
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Additional information

  • Walker, C. H., Sibly, R. M., Hopkin, S. P., Peakall, D. B. (2012). Principles of Ecotoxicology. CRC Press, Boca Raton, USA.
  • Hoffman, D. J., Rattner, B. A., Burton, G. A., Cairns, J. (1995). Handbook of Ecotoxicology. Lewis, Boca Raton, USA
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Key Skills Acquired
1. The ability to define and interpret effective concentrations (e.g. LC50, EC50)
2. Skills to undertake risk and hazard assessments of chemicals, based on physico-chemical parameters and ecotoxicological index
3. Skills to estimate the effects of chemical substances on populations of organisms
4. Competency to use characteristics and measured properties to interpret and assess the risks posed by chemicals for organisms, in various work contexts


Bloc 1

Recueillir des données dans des bases de données appropriées

Bloc 2

Définir une stratégie de  collecte et d'analyse des données environnementales

Évaluer la qualité physique, chimique et biologique des milieux aquatiques

Bloc 3

Communiquer autour de connaissances scientifiques avec des publics variés, à l'oral et l'écrit, en Français et en Anglais

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