At the end of the course, students should be able to:;
- describe and understand basic principles of ecotoxicology
- discuss and explain environmental stressors (chemical compounds, physical and biological stressors)
- classify and interpret adverse effects (organisms are understood as receptors of the stress) at different levels and different organisms (bacteria, algae, plants, invertebrates, vertebrates including man)
- explain and use methodological approaches in ecotoxicology
- solve practical problems of the ecotoxicology applications
1 - history and present ecotoxicology frame
ecotoxicology - the science of effects of (chemical) stressors on ecosystems and their living parts (organisms); knowledge base of ecotoxicologist; ecotoxicology vs. (human) toxicology; relations and connections between ecotoxicology and other biological and environmental sciences;
terminology of toxicology and ecology.
retrospective and prospective ecotoxicology;
types of ecosystems and ecotoxicology (aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicology);
2 - chemical compounds in ecosystems
environmentally relevant properties of chemical compounds (basic and specific descriptors - partition coefficients, sorption constants, lipophilicity);
introduction to principles of study of fate of chemicals in the environment - transport, distribution, transformations;
bioconcentrations and bioavailability - specifities of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems;
biotic transformations - biodegradation and metabolism of xenobiotics.
3 - biological systems in ecotoxicology
exposure-dose-response concept, toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics;
acute and chronic toxicity vs. genotoxicity vs. carcinogenicity; biomarkers;
hierarchy of biological systems - specifications and effects of (chemical) stressors in different levels.
4 - effects in various levels of the organism
subcellular and cellular level - biochemical and molecular modes of toxic action; mutagenicity and genotoxicity;
effects on organ level of auto- and heterotrophic organisms;
organismal level - health vs. lethality, reproduction and developmental effects;
5 - effects in various levels of trophic chains
ecotoxicology of producers - cyanobacteria, algae, plants
ecotoxicology of predators - invertebrates, vertebrates, man as a component of ecosystems
ecotoxicology of destruents - bacteria, fungi
6 - (chemical) stress in communities and ecosystems
properties, structure and functions of ecosystems, spatial and temporal changes, connections and relationships between components of ecosystems, trophy and food chains;
effects of chemical stress, responses and recovery in ecosystem level; aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, case studies, indicator of ecosystem health; organic pollution vs. toxicity.
7 - experimental approaches
laboratory testing vs. in situ studies vs. biomonitoring; experiments of different complexity - design and principles;
standardization, reproducibility, and ecological interpretations;
biological factors affecting toxicity (nutrition, sex, annual and life cycles ...)
8 - methods in ecotoxicology (I) - laboratory biotests
biotests - hierarchy and batteries of tests - trophic levels; studies of effects and their parametrization - derivation and interpretation of ECx, LCx, LO(A)EL, NO(A)EL values.
Methods for aquatic and terrestrial organisms - representatives and examples; multispecies testing - laboratory microcosms.
9 - metody in ecotoxicology (II) - ecological studies
methods of in situ studies - types and selection of organisms and exposures, negative-background localities, mesocosms.
biomonitoring - field studies, concept of biological integrity, characteristics and parameterizations of community structure; problems and specifities of bioindicators;
10 - major classes of important contaminants:
chemical individuals vs. mixtures and complex samples; industrial and urban pollution;
basic characteristics of major classes - sources, fates and effects: inorganic compounds (metals, gases, nutrients - phosphorus, nitrogen); organic pollutants (organic gases, solvents, pesticides, products and byproducts of industrial activities, combustion products).
11 - Applications of ecotoxicology
predictive ecotoxicology (principles and characteristics of structure-activity relationship modelling (QSAR)
mathematical models for fate and transport of chemicals in the environment and food chains;
risk assessment - basic concepts and realization, hazard vs. risk, fate and effects analyses and synthesis - risk evaluation; human vs. ecological risks
national and international standards in ecotoxicology, regulatory frame for ecotoxicology, corresponding practical aspects, derivation and interpretation of safety limits or benchmarks.
BLÁHA, Luděk. Podkladové materiály (PDF) k výuce obecné ekotoxikologie (Handout materials (PDF) for lectures from general ecotoxicology). 2005. URLinfo
CALOW, P. Handbook of Ecotoxicology Vol. I and II. London, U.K.: Blackwell Scientific publications, 1993. info
HOFFMAN, D.J. and B.A. RATTNER. Handbook of Ecotoxicology. Boca Raton, FL, USA: CRC Press, 1994. info
Combination of lectures (weekly during whole semester), practical exercises - ecotoxicology tests (block at the end of semester), e-learning materials (within IS.MUNI.CZ), independent seminar project (1x during the semester), continuous check using Questionaires in the IS.MUNI.CZ (3x during the semester).
Five online tests during the lectures (ROPOTs - Revision, Opinion Poll and Testing) in the is.muni.cz. The student can repeatedly access the ROPOT so 90% success is required for each individual online test. Student must pass 100% of all ROPOTs. In addition, students have to participate in 50% of minitests during the contact lectures (in total 6times during semester) - the results of the minitests are recorded but not evaluated (they are just for practicing purposes). Once per semester, student have to prepare an individual project on given topic (1xA4 written text). Final exam consists of (i) final written test (50% success is required as minimum), (ii) oral examination (2 questions), (iii) assessment of individual assay prepared one day before the examination. In case of doubtful result, activity during the semester is evaluated (minitests, ROPOTs etc).