Aim of the course
This course offers basic ecotoxicological training for PhD students and scientists from universities and research institutes who in the future will be involved in ecotoxicological research. The course is also suitable for industrial and governmental researchers, managers and policymakers. The basic knowledge offered in this course is essential for all those who are or wish to become involved in the field of hazards posed by environmental contaminants.

Content of the course
This course provides a broad overview of different aspects of ecotoxicology, including environmental chemistry, toxicology, ecology and risk assessment related topics. The course consists of lectures, working classes and practicals. Lectures will generally be held in the mornings. Experimental work, video training, working lectures and study visits will take place in the afternoons, to provide examples and practical understanding of the theory. The course is divided into two parts of one week each.

The first week deals with issues determining exposure. Focus will be on environmental chemistry, including the fate of chemicals in the environment and uptake in organisms.
Specific subjects are:
• Fate of chemicals in the environment
• Sorption and (bio)degradation of organic chemicals
• Speciation of metals in soil and water
• Bioaccumulation and biomagnification of persistent chemicals
• Structure-activity relationships

The second week deals with effects and includes toxicological and ecological aspects of ecotoxicology. In this part of the course, focus will be on assessing effects on (life stages) of individual organisms of wildlife species in interaction with their changing environment, and their translation to effects at the population level. In this part of the course, attention will also be paid to the role of ecotoxicology in policymaking. Lectures also will deal with standardized tests carried out in relation to environmental legislation as well as the possibilities and limitations of ecotoxicological monitoring and experimental research.
Specific subjects are:
• Toxicokinetics and biotransformation in relation to species differences in toxicity
• Mechanisms in ecotoxicology and mixture toxicity
• Dose-response relationships
• Biomarkers and biosensors
• In vivo and in vitro bioassays
• Population effects
• Genetic adaptation to pollution in soil invertebrates
• Risk assessment and (international) legislation of chemicals

It is possible to follow only the first or the second week of this course, for example when experience already exists on the subject of the other part.

Outcomes (competences, skills)
On successful completion of the course, participants should:

Environmental exposure (week 1)
• know the main factors determining exposure of organisms (including man) to environmental contaminants;
• have insight in the main factors of importance for the fate and distribution of chemicals in the environment;
• know the main factors determining the uptake of chemicals in organisms;
• have insight in the methods used in ecotoxicology to assess the bioaccumulation potential of chemicals in organisms and food chains;

Ecotoxicology (week 2)
• understand the main aspects and principles of ecotoxicology;
• know the principles of dose-response testing and mixture toxicity;
• have insight in the main factors that are relevant in ecotoxicology and the consequence when choosing research methods to assess the toxicity or ecological risk of contaminants in environments;
• know the main research aspects of using bioassays, biomarkers and biosensors;
• have insight in the factors causing differences between species in toxicokinetics and biotransformation;
• know the principles of ecotoxicological risk assessment of chemicals and the basis for the extrapolation between different levels of biological organization;
• know the role of ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry in the risk assessment of new and existing chemicals, and of contaminated land, water and sediments.

Participants will give oral presentations on specific assignments, which will be discussed by the group. The course is concluded with a written exam.

Coordinators: C.A.M. van N.W. van den Brink
Duration: 2 weeks (2 x 1 week)
ECTS credits: 3 (2 x 1.5 credit)
Fee:          see tuition fees (includes reduced fees for PhD students)
Location: Dept. Ecological Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam (wk 1)
Location: Sub-dept. Toxicology, Wageningen University, Wageningen (wk 2)

The course requires a minimum of 10 participants. In case this number is not achieved, the course will be postponed to the next edition.
For general inquiries please contact the PET Office

To apply please proceed to course registration and for questions please contact the PET Office

Last updated: 3-Feb-22