autumn 2018
BIO-2012 Fundamentals of Ecotoxicolgy I - 10 ECTS

Last changed 08.02.2019

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester. Concerns only admission to singular courses. Exchange students and Fulbright students: 1 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester.

Type of course

The course is the theoretical component of the course Fundamentals of Ecotoxicology. The course is obligatory for undergraduate students taking the BSc programme Miljøledelse og Forurensningsbiologi. The course is also available for other biology students and exchange students at a biology study program. Available as singular course.

Admission requirements

Nordic applicants: Admission requirements are generell studiekompetanse + REALFA.

Application code: 9336

International applicants: Higher Education Entrance Qualification and certified language requirements in English. A list of the requirements for the Higher Education Entrance Qualification in Norway can be found on the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education website -   Obligatory prerequisites: Students that have not taken the courses BIO-2002, KJE-1001, BIO-1601 or MBI-1002 must have taken simular courses in physiology, chemestry, cell and molecular biology at university level.

Obligatory prerequisites

BIO-2002 Physiology II (Animal Physiology), KJE-1001 Introduction to chemistry and the chemistry of biology, MBI-1001 Cell and molecular biologyor BIO-1601 Introduction to microbiology, BIO-2002 Physiology II (Animal Physiology), KJE-1001 Introduction to chemistry and the chemistry of biology, MBI-1002 Cell- and molecular biology

Course overlap

BIO-2008 Introduction to ecotoxicology 8 stp

Course content

The course will cover general principles of ecotoxicology. More specifically, the course will give an overview of environmental contaminants and their fate in the environment, including emissions and transport of contaminants and effects in biota. The course will also include methodologies used for toxicity testing and environmental monitoring.

Recommended prerequisites

BIO-1005 Ecology and Evolution

Objectives of the course

Students who have completed this course will be able to:


  • recognize the sources of pollution (natural/anthropogenic) and the types of contaminants (persistent organic pollutants, microplastics, radioactivity, heavy metals and hydrocarbons).
  • describe the physico-chemical properties of contaminants.
  • name the transport processes of contaminants.
  • understand the accumulation of contaminants in biota and their trophic transfer.
  • have an understanding of toxicant effects (biomarkers) and toxicity testing.
  • explain the effects of contaminants on populations and ecosystems.
  • have a basic knowledge of environmental monitoring of pollutants and risk assessment.


  • search for relevant scientific literature
  • read, understand and interpret scientific literature
  • develop their scientific writing
  • prepare an oral presentation based upon their reading

General competence:

  • develop a broad body of knowledge in ecotoxicology to support a basic understanding of the principles governing toxic responses to chemical exposures.
  • adapt this knowledge and the basic concepts involved to problem solving.
  • demonstrate an understanding of regulatory and ethical considerations and of the discipline¿s relevancy to real-world issues.
  • acquire good oral and written skills to effectively communicate this knowledge and the basic concepts.

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

Lectures (30h) and colloquium  (20h)


4h written exam. A graded scale of five marks from A to E for pass and F for fail.

In order to sit an examination, the student must complete and gain approval for any coursework requirements.

Coursework requirements: oral presentation during the colloquiums. Students will give a 10-15 minute presentation during the colloquiums. Students will be free to choose among different topics proposed by the teacher.

There will be a re-sit examination for students that fail the ordinary exam.


Recommended reading/syllabus

Lecture notes and book:

Fundamentals in Ecotoxicology, 4th edition Michael C. Newman, CRC Press Divided into 14 chapters, the book begins with an overall history of the field. It details the essential features of the key contaminants of concern today, including their sources. It examines bioaccumulation, the effects of contaminants at increasing levels of ecological organization, and the regulatory aspects of the field addressing the technical issues of risk assessment. The author includes appendices illustrating important environmental laws and regulations, and compiles key terms not already identified by section headings in the glossary. He also provides suggested readings at the end of each chapter and presents study questions at the end of the book. Designed as a textbook for use in introductory graduate or upper-level undergraduate courses in ecotoxicology, applied ecology, environmental pollution, and environmental science, it can also be used as a general reference for practicing environmental toxicologists.

Note that copies of the book will be made available at the library for the whole duration of the course.

  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: BIO-2012