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)
- clasify 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, lipophility);
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, toxokinetics and toxodynamics;
acute and chronic toxicity vs. genotoxicity vs. karcinogenity; biomarkers;
hierarchy of biological systems - specifications and effects of (chemical) stresors 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. letality, reproduction and developlmental effects;
5 - effects in various levels of trophic chains
ecotoxicology of producents - cyanobacteria, algae, plants
ecotoxicology of predators - invertebrates, vertebrates, man as a component of ecosystems
ecotoxicology of destruents - bacteria, fungy
6 - (chemical) stress in communities and ecosystems
properties, structure and functions of ecosystems, spatial and temproral changes, connections and relationships between components of ecosystems, trophy and food chains;
effects of chemical stress, respones 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
metods of in situ studies - types and selection of organisms and exposures, negative-background localities, mesocosms.
biomonitoring - field studies, concept of biological integrity, characteristics and parametrizations 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 characterisitics 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).
3 online tests during the lectures (ROPOTs - Revision, Opinion Poll and Testing) in the is.muni.cz - results are considered for the final examination). Final exam - written test, followed by oral examination.