This course introduces the fields of aquatic ecotoxicology, environmental monitoring and the different steps in ecological risk assessment. It gives insight in (1) the factors that determine the distribution and mobility of chemicals in the environment. For instance variables such as the pH, salt and temperature or the role of bacteria in redox processes are factors which will have a considerable influence on metal behaviour in soils or sediments. The next step (2) is understanding how contaminants move from the environment into organisms (bioaccumulation). Then (3) processes which result in internal deactivation will be explained to finally gain knowledge on (4) effects of chemicals on biota. These effects and the general risk assessments procedures are explored from sub-organismal level up to higher levels of organisation (individuals, populations, communities, ecosystems).
Examples of topics that will be discussed include:
The effects of micro pollutants on biota; diagnosis; how biota differ in resistance and tolerance; methods to evaluate, reduce and remedy effects; case studies.
The sources, distribution and behaviour in the environment, characteristics and degradation/transformation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
Techniques to measure POPs in environmental and biological samples
The development of water quality guidelines under the EU Water Framework Directive
Risk evaluation of single compounds.