Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


The course provides students with an introduction to the field of ecotoxicology: the study of the fate and effects of contaminants in ecosystems. Students will gain knowledge of the principles and current theoretical issues within the field. The course models the process of conducting collaborative scientific research in the field of ecotoxicology from hypothesis formulation, to design, sampling, analysis and dissemination of findings through a variety of scientific contexts. As such, the course provides students with an understanding of experimental design and analysis, designing and performing ecotoxicological research, and the skills of presenting findings in both written and oral scientific settings.



  • Semester 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Navigate and synthesise the scientific literature to gain a detailed knowledge of the sub-discipline area of ecotoxicology;

2. Apply knowledge of ecotoxicological theory to new environmental situations;

3. Interpret, summarise, validate and critique ecotoxicological data from the scientific literature;

4. Analyse field and/or laboratory data.

5. Interpret and analyse statistical data;

6. Make informed management decisions based on data;

7. Work as part of a team to design, plan, carry out, analyse and report the findings of an experiment in ecotoxicology;

8. Communicate findings to a scientific audience in both written and oral formats.


  • Contaminants and their fate in ecosystems

Major classes of contaminantsRoutes by which contaminants enter ecosystems

  • Environmental fate of contaminants in individuals and ecosystems
  • The effects of contaminants on individual organisms

Toxicity testingBiochemical and molecular effects of contaminantsPhysiological, organ level, individual and behavioural effects of contaminantsInteractive effects of contaminantsBiomonitors

  • Biomarkers
  • Effects of contaminants on populations and communities

Population level effects and population dynamicsEvolutionary responses to environmental stressorsCommunity and ecosystem level effectsExperimental design and data analysis

  • Ecological risk assessment and environmental management
  • Bioremediation


This course replaces BIOL3350. If you have successfully completed BIOL3350 you cannot

enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

STAT1070; BIOL1002 or BIOL1070 (or BIOL1050)

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Critiques

Written Assignment: Draft Paper, Peer Review, Final Paper and Letter to Editor

Proposal / Plan: Research Proposal

Formal Examination: Final Examination

Contact hours


Computer Lab

Face to Face On Campus 21 hour(s) per Term Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.