37362 - Ecologic Methods for the Analysis and the Management of the Environment

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Ravenna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Environmental Assessment and Management (cod. 5900)

Learning outcomes

After completing this course, the student has the theoretical knowledge and practical skills required to measure and predict the effects of human activities on populations, communities and ecosystems and to integrate this information in ways relevant to environmental management.

The student will be able to:
- implement bioassessment methods based on structural and functional characteristics of populations, communities, ecosystems;
- assess ecotoxicity;
- integrate information of different nature, using "weight of evidence” approaches;
- perform ecological risk assessment, both predictive and retrospective, in particular the analysis of the ecological effects of contaminants and other stressors;
- discriminate between natural variability and anthropogenic alteration and assess the impact of human activities on ecological systems, using appropriate sampling designs.

Course contents

The experimental measure of ecotoxicity:
- toxicity tests;
- application of statistical hypothesis testing to toxicity evaluation;
- evaluation and consequences of type I and type II errors;
- analysis of the exposure-response relationship;
- toxicity values (EC50, NOEC, LOEC);
- toxicity tests and the REACH regulation;
- the species sensitivity distribution approach and estimation of the hazardous concentration;
- principles of experimental and sampling design.

Biomonitoring methods and ecological quality indices:
- the reference condition;
- the BEAST method;
- chemical quality criteria, the example of ERL and ERM;
- the multimetric approach, the Benthic Index of Biological Integrity (B-IBI);
- the RIVPACS method;
- toxicity tests as a biomonitoring tool;


Copies of the lesson slides.
Video and Audio recordings of the lectures.
Workseets of data analysis classes.
Papers from scientific journals and chapters from books or technical reports related to specific case studies.

Teaching methods

Data analysis classes in the computer room.
Both during the lectures and during the computer clesses student-teacher interaction and discussion between students is actively encouraged.

The activities will be held in person, remotely, or in mixed mode depending on the health situation and the indications of the University at the time of the course. Lessons and exercises will in any case be recorded for the benefit of students who may not be able to attend.

Assessment methods

The learning assessment aims at a complete and balanced evaluation of the degree of achievement of all the objectives defined in the "learning outcomes" section.

The assessment is expressed as a grade up to thirty cum laude.

The grade is the weighted average between:
- score obtained in a computer test with a maximum duration of 60 minutes (weight: 1);
- score obtained in an oral examination with an approximate duration of 45 minutes (weight: 4).

The computer test consists of an exercise in data analysis similar to those carried out during the computer classess.

The oral exam is divided into two questions, each related to one of the two main areas in which the course contents are divided:
- experimental measure of ecotoxicity;
- methods of biomonitoring and indices of ecological quality.
The questions are randomly selected from a pool prepared on the basis of course content.

Teaching tools

Classroom with computer connected to video projector.

Office hours

See the website of Andrea Pasteris


Clean water and sanitation Oceans Life on land

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.