AT-830 Arctic Environmental Toxicology (10 ECTS)

Lunch break in Adventdalen

Reading list

ID:
AT-830
CREDITS:
10 ECTS
START DATE:
February 20, 2023
END DATE:
March 30, 2023
COURSE PERIOD:
Spring semester (February – March), annually.
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION AND EXAMINATION:
English
CREDIT REDUCTION/OVERLAP:
10 ECTS with AT-330
GRADE:
Letter grade (A through F)
COURSE MATERIAL:
Scientific articles and reports. See AT-830 reading list.
COURSE COSTS:
None
COURSE CAPACITY MIN/MAX:
10/20 students (AT-330/830 in total)
EXAMINATION SUPPORT MATERIAL:
Bilingual dictionary between English and mother tongue
APPLICATION DEADLINE:
October 15, 2022

INSTRUCTORS:

Bjørn Munro Jenssen. Photo: Eirik Berger
Bjørn Munro Jenssen
Adjunct Professor, Environmental Toxicology

UNIS contact person: Gijsbert Breedveld

Course requirements:

Enrolment in a relevant PhD programme. Background in toxicology, ecotoxicology, and environmental chemistry or biology or biotechnology.

Academic content:

Arctic species have evolved biochemical, physiological and ecological traits specific for surviving in the harsh Arctic environment. Pollutants can be toxic, or interfere with biological processes through other mechanisms, thus reducing their fitness and causing resultant changes in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Effects can occur at all biological organization levels, from the subcellular level to the ecosystem level.

Specific topics:

  • Uptake, biotransformation, and excretion of pollutants in Arctic organisms
  • Effects of pollutants in organisms in relation to the specific Arctic environmental conditions
  • Effects of pollutants on organismal acclimatization and adaptations to the Arctic environment
  • How effects can propagate from the subcellular level to population, community and ecosystem levels
  • How climate change and pollutants may interact in affecting Arctic organisms and ecosystems
  • Specific ecotoxic effects of the major classes of pollutants, such as persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals, petroleum oil, and novel man-made pollutants, on Arctic organisms
  • The susceptibility of Arctic organisms and ecosystems to pollutants as compared to other organisms and ecosystems
  • Effects of pollutants on humans in the Arctic

Learning outcomes:

Knowledge
Upon completing the course, the students will have an advanced academic knowledge on:

  • the effects of the major groups of pollutants that imposes a threat to Arctic organisms, including humans, and ecosystems, and on how contaminants in combination with other human imposed stressors, such as for instance climate change, affect Arctic biota and ecosystems
  • how indigenous people (Northerners) are exposed to and affected by anthropogenic pollutants via consumption of traditional food
  • how pollutants and relevant climate change issues can interact in relation to the risks of zoonozis in an Arctic OneHealth perspective.

Skills
Upon completing the course, the students will be able to:

  • synthesize scientific literature searching within the broad field of environmental toxicology and produce a written scientific essay (synthesis) based on up-to-date available scientific literature within Arctic environmental toxicology
  • critically interpret properties and effects of anthropogenic pollutants on the organismal level (molecular, cellular and physiological) in key Arctic organisms, including humans, and in populations of Arctic organisms and in Arctic ecosystems
  • plan and participate in field work on relevant issues related to Arctic environmental toxicology.

 

General competences
Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • within the field of environmental toxicology on an advanced level, be provided for future positions within nature and pollution management, research, or the industry.

Learning activities:

The course extends over ca. 6 weeks including compulsory safety training, and is run in combination with AT-330.

The students must prepare an essay formatted as s research “mini-review” (ca. 4000 words excluding references, figures & tables) on a chosen research topic. The students must give a lecture (45 minutes) on the topic of the research paper manuscript, aimed towards the general public and decision makers.

Self-study and preparations: approx. 100 hours.
Total lecture hours: 21 hours.
Student-led seminars: 37 hours.
Field / lab work: 3–5 days.
Essay: approx. 40 hours (30% of the course).

Compulsory learning activities:

Seminars and field work. Oral lecture of the essay.
The essay must be handed in prior to the exam date.

 All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to sit the exam.

Assessment:

Method Duration
Percentage of final grade
Essay 30%
Written exam 3 hours 70%

All assessments must be passed in order to pass the course.

Each assessment is graded, and subsequently combined into a single grade. Partial grades for each assessment will be available.

Application deadline: 15 October 2022

Lunch break in Adventdalen

A quick lunch break during AT-330/830 fieldwork in Adventdalen. Photo: Bjørn Munro Jenssen/UNIS.

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The University Centre in Svalbard
Telephone: +47 79 02 33 00
Student inquiries: study@unis.no
E-mail: post@unis.no / webmaster@unis.no
Address: P.O. Box 156 N-9171 Longyearbyen
Org. no. 985 204 454

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