Course Title: Ecotoxicology

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Ecotoxicology

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 2 2021


Open Learning Australia

Non Award

171H School of Science

Distance / Correspondence


Flexible Terms

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)




171H School of Science


OUACSP2020 (All)

Course Coordinator: Professor Dayanthi Nugegoda

Course Coordinator Phone: +613 9925 7150

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Bundoora campus 223.1.44

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This course requires knowledge and capabilities from courses in animal and plant structure, classification and physiology, as well as chemistry at first year level, equivalent courses or comparable knowledge and skills.

Course Description

This course introduces you to the field of environmental toxicology and teaches you practical skills in pollution sampling techniques and their application to the study of environmental assessment. This course enables you to develop a detailed knowledge of ecotoxicological principles. It prepares you 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.

You will be guided through the course by structured online material, preceding relevant practical classes in the laboratory or in the field to achieve competence in technical skills. The normal modes of teaching will be approximately 2 hours of online learning followed by 2-4 hours of practical work each week, but this will be varied according to the particular educational objectives for the topic. 

Tutorials will be conducted online or in class informally as the need arises.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course is particularly important in developing the graduate attributes of: knowledgability, critical-thinking ability, responsibility, ethical behaviour, employability, adaptability, competency in technical skills, self-directed and motivated learning skills, problem-solving ability and good communication skills (written, verbal and interpersonal). 

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes in BP229 Bachelor of Science (Applied Sciences): 

2. Scientific knowledge

PLO-2.1 You will have broad knowledge in your chosen discipline, with deep knowledge in its core concepts

 3. Inquiry and Problem Solving

PLO-3.1   You will be able to plan and carry out a research project under supervision, showing the development of some capacity for independent work

PLO-3.2 You will be able to gather, critically review and synthesise information relevant to a scientific inquiry or research project.

5. Personal and professional responsibility

PLO-5.1 You will develop a capacity for independent and self-directed work.

PLO-5.2 You will work responsibly, safely, legally and ethically

The main objective is for you to be introduced to applied ecotoxicology.

On successful completion of this course you should 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 biota.
  6. Describe and evaluate biological indicators of pollution at the habitat and organism level;
  7. Evaluate the risk to ecosystem function from a pollutant

Overview of Learning Activities

 The learning activities included in this course are:

  • online learning where syllabus material will be presented and explained via the RMIT teaching platform, and the subject will be illustrated with demonstrations and examples;
  • completion of laboratory projects designed to give further practice in the application of theory and procedures, and to give feedback on student progress and understanding 
  • critically reviewing the literature relevant to a prescribed topic and preparing a written report.
  • preparing and presenting a seminar on the topic of ecotoxicology 
  • completion of written assignments consisting of numerical and other problems requiring an integrated understanding of the subject matter; and
  • private study, working through the course as presented online and learning materials, and gaining practice at solving conceptual and simulated problems. 

Overview of Learning Resources

myRMIT and the Learning Hub

Subject notes and other resources will be provided online on the RMIT learning platform. In addition, although practical sheets and results may be provided online, students are expected to attend all laboratory sessions in order to submit a practical report.

Students will be provided with lists of relevant texts, library resources (including appropriate journals) and freely accessible internet sites. Much of the reference material is in journal articles, lecturers will provide information on relevant articles for each topic. Other material will be provided in laboratory classes. Students will be able to access course information and learning material through the RMIT learning platform online.

Most reliance will be placed on up-to-date reviews and recent papers in journals online. Students wanting other references to be placed on reserve at the library should consult the lecturer.


Overview of Assessment

Note that: This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Task 1: Practical Component

Weighting 35%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 5 & 7

Assessment Task 2: Group Literature Review and Seminar

Weighting 25%

This assessment task supports CLOs 2, 4, 5, 6 & 7

Assessment Task 3: Online Multiple Choice Question Test

Weighting 10%

This assessment supports CLOs 1-6

Assessment Task 4: Case study online assessment

Weighting 30%

This assessment supports CLOs 1-7