Award: 5 credits at level 4
Duration: 12 weeks
Start Date: January (Semester 2)

ENVB40350 - Applied Ecotoxicology


This module is for students in Semester 2 of the MSc, Graduate Diploma or Certificate in Environmental Sustainability (Negotiated Learning) course.

What will I study?

Ecotoxicology examines the effects of toxic chemicals on organisms at different organizational levels from individual to ecosystem. As an interdisciplinary science, Ecotoxicology combines elements of biology, ecology, toxicology, biochemistry, analytical chemistry and statistics. This module will introduce the student to Ecotoxicology and its role in the monitoring of ecosystem health. The course will include:

  1. An introduction to the principles of Ecotoxicology
  2. The origin of pollutants and factors affecting their fate in the environment and within organisms
  3. The effects of pollutants and the methods used to assess these effects at different organizational levels: Ecosystem, Community, Population, Whole organism, Tissue, Cellular and Subcellular
  4. Virtual laboratory sessions outlining the methodologies of two commonly utilized tests in Ecotoxicology laboratories.

How will I study?

  • Online lectures, videos and quizzes
  • Virtual laboratory sessions and report writing
  • Self-directed study using recommended publications and online materials

Expected Commitment

Students are not required to attend any lectures at the UCD campus, however you are expected attend the end of semester exam and to spend a total 120 hours workload during the semester consisting of:

  • Lectures, videos, virtual laboratories and other online learning materials: 20-30 hours
  • Report writing and assessment (in-semester): 30 hours
  • Student Autonomous Learning: 60 hours

How will I be assessed?

  • Continuous assessment in the form of laboratory reports (in-semester): 40%
  • Participation in Discussion board: 10%
  • End of semester examination: 50%

On successful completion of this module I will be able to:

  • Describe the origin, and understand the factors both biotic and abiotic, that influence the fate of many common pollutants
  • Understand the role of current legislation in chemical safety assessment
  • Give examples of biological indicators, toxicity tests and biomarkers used to monitor pollutant effects at each level of biological organization
  • Run a Lemna minor (duckweed) growth inhibition (EC50) test
  • Run a 48h Daphnia magna immobilisation test
  • Write a laboratory report in the style of a scientific paper including references to outside materials

Am I eligible?

Applicants must hold a minimum of a 2.2 honours level degree in a science, engineering or related discipline. Otherwise, there are no pre-requisites for taking this module.