Course Unit Page


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

Clean water and sanitation Oceans

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

After completing this course, the student has fundamental knowledge about:
- the fate and effects of chemical substances in ecosystems, with particular regard to marine ones;
- the interaction between chemical substances and living organisms at different levels of biological organization from molecular to ecosystem;
- the methods of study and analysis used in ecotoxicology, in particular as regards the evaluation of the toxicity of substances, mixtures and environmental samples;
- the methods used to evaluate the ecological status of marine and transitional environments.
Moreover, After completing this course, the student is able to analyze the data obtained from toxicity tests, and to use them in the context of the ecological risk assessment of chemical substances.

Course contents

Main categories of toxic pollutants.

Routes of entry of pollutants into marine ecosystems.

Movements and transformations of pollutants in ecosystems.

Bioaccumulation, bioconcentration, biomagnification.

Movements and transformation of pollutants within organisms, detoxification mechanisms.

Biochemical and physiological effects, biomarkers.

Effects at the individual level, toxicity tests.

Effects on populations, communities and ecosystems, environmental monitoring.

All topics will be presented with examples and case studies based on marine or estuarine organisms and ecosystems.


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 final grade is a weighted average of:
- grade allocated to all of the documents produced by the student during the computer classes (weight: 1);
- grade achieved in an oral examination lasting approximately 45 minutes (weight: 2).

To evaluate the achievement of the learning objectives in a complete and balanced way, the oral exam is divided into two questions, randomly chosen from a previously prepared pool, wich is based on the points exposed to the Program / Contents section.

Upon request, the opportunity to take a replacement computer test is given to students who were unable to attend the laboratory classes.

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