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

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Andrea Pasteris

  • Credits 6

  • SSD BIO/07

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian


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

Clean water and sanitation Oceans Life on land

Academic Year 2018/2019

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;
- ecological risk assessment (ERA).

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;
- the extended biotic index (IBE);
- the MacrOper system;
- toxicity tests as a biomonitoring tool;
- thesediment quality triad and other "weight of evidence" approaches;
- biomonitoring and the Water Framework Directive of the European Union. .


Copies of the lesson slides.
Audio recordings of the lectures.
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.

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 120 minutes (weight: 1);
- score obtained in an oral examination with an approximate duration of 45 minutes (weight: 3).

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.
Computer room (15 places) for data analysis classes.

Office hours

See the website of Andrea Pasteris