The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2019

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.

Availability2019 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2019

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. Collect and 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 contaminants Routes by which contaminants enter ecosystems

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

Toxicity testing Biochemical and molecular effects of contaminants Physiological, organ level, individual and behavioural effects of contaminants Interactive effects of contaminants Biomonitors

  • Biomarkers
  • Effects of contaminants on populations and communities

Population level effects and population dynamics Evolutionary responses to environmental stressors Community and ecosystem level effects Experimental 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



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

Student Project may include field and/or laboratory study.