Warning! This subjects requires on campus attendance. Refer to Special Requirements for more information.

Subject details

At the completion of this subject students will be able to:

  1. define critical terms and concepts in ecotoxicology
  2. describe and evaluate the biological, ecological and chemical factors affecting toxicity testing
  3. differentiate between toxicants in their effects on organisms and ecosystems
  4. explain the effects of bioaccumulation and biotransformation in organisms and ecosystems and the impacts of major pollution events such as oil spills
  5. describe, discuss and apply tests for pollution using micro-organisms, plants and invertebrates
  6. describe and evaluate biological indicators of pollution at the habitat and organism level
  7. evaluate the risk to ecosystem function from a pollutant.
    • Introduction to ecotoxicology
    • Toxicity testing
    • Chemical distribution
    • Specific toxicant effects
    • Biological monitoring
    • Ecological risk assessment
    • Photosynthetic organisms and pollution
    • Water pollution and water sampling methods

You are recommended to have completed the following subjects(s) or have equivalent knowledge before starting this subject:


First year Biology and Chemistry, Animal Structure and Function, or evidence of equivalent capabilities.

Special requirements

  • AttendanceDetails - Mandatory on-campus attendance for practical classes in the laboratory.

This subject has a vocational focus. It introduces to the student the field of environmental

toxicology and teaches them practical skills in pollution sampling techniques and their
application to the study of environmental assessment. This subject enables students to develop a detailed knowledge of ecotoxicological principles. It prepares the students to utilise ecological sampling techniques in the field to solve applied ecotoxicological problems and in preparing critical scientific reviews, specifically in important areas of ecotoxicology.
Please note the dates below for the compulsory requirements for this subject to attend laboratory classes at RMIT University's City Campus in central Melbourne:
Study Period 3:
  • Nov 12 - 16, 2018 - 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM*
Study Period 4:
  • Jan 21 – 25, 2019 - 12:30 PM - 4:30 PM*
*More details will be provided at the commencement of the relevant Study Period and available on Blackboard.
Students who do NOT attend the essential on-campus Labs will not be allowed to submit lab reports and will not fulfil the requirements for completion of this subject.

  • Invigilated Exam (45%)
  • Online tests (10%)
  • Literature review & seminar (20%)
  • Lab reports (25%)