MPŠ MP&Scaron MP&Scaron MP&Scaron Avtorji

Jožef Stefan
Postgraduate School

Jamova 39
SI-1000 Ljubljana

Phone: +386 1 477 31 00
Fax: +386 1 477 31 10


Course Description

Basic Ecology and Ecotoxicology


Ecotechnologies, second-level study programme


prof. dr. Janez Ščančar


This is a basic course on ecology and ecotoxicology for students of different backgrounds. In the first part, student will get knowledge on levels of biological organization with emphasis on populations, communities and ecosystems. Different types of ecosystems with their main characteristics will be presented. In the second part, the pollution of the ecosystem will be discussed. Here different groups of pollutants, products of nanotechnologies and radioactive material will be discussed in terms of their entrance and fate into the environment. Attention will be given to dose-response relationship between pollutants and different groups of organisms (bacteria, yeast, plants and animals). Biomarkers, bioindicators and biosensors wil bee presented in detail and their role in toxicity testing, biomonitoring and environmental risk assessment. In vivo and in vitro toxicity test will be presented too and the types of generated toxicity data discussed. The student will gain knowledge on how to evaluate toxicity data and how they are used in environmental risk assessment.


Basic ecology:
• Different levels of biological organization with emphasis on populations, communities and ecosystem
• Different groups of organisms inhabiting ecosystems (bacteria, fungi, plants and animals)
• Types of ecosystems and their characteristics

Basic ecotoxicology:
• Chemical pollutions, products of nanotechnologies and radioactive material as environmental pollutants
• Biosensors
• Biomarkes
• Bioindicators
• Toxicity testing: in vivo, in vitro and microcosm toxicity tests
• Environmental risk assessment

Course literature:

M.H. Yu Environmental Toxicology, CRC Press 2004
Timbrell J. A. Principles of Biomedical Toxicology, Taylor&Francis, 2003
C.H. Walker; S.P. Hopkin; R.M. Sibly; D.B. Peakall Principles of Ecotoxicology, Taylor&Francis 2nd edition, 2001

Significant publications and references:

ŠČANČAR, Janez, ZULIANI, Tea, TURK, Tom, MILAČIČ, Radmila. Organotin compounds and selected metals in the marine environment of Northern Adriatic sea. Environ. monit. assess., 2007, vol. 127, str. 271-282.
MURKO, Simona, MILAČIČ, Radmila, ŠČANČAR, Janez. Speciation of Al in human serum by convective-interaction media fast-monolithic chromatography with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometric detection. J. inorg. biochem.. [Print ed.], 2007, issue 9, vol. 101, str. 1234-1241.
DROBNE, Damjana. Terrestrial isopods - a good choise for toxicity testing of pollutants in the terrestrial environment. Environ. toxicol. chem., 1997, let. 16, št. 6, str. 1159-1164.DROBNE, Damjana, DROBNE, Samo. Application of computer microscopy for histopathology in isopod toxicity studies : chapter 7. V: OSTRANDER, Gary Kent (ur.). Techniques in aquatic toxicology. Vol. 2. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis, 2005, str. 137-146.
VOGEL-MIKUŠ, Katarina, DROBNE, Damjana, REGVAR, Marjana. Zn, Cd and Pb accumulation and arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization of pennycress Thlaspi praecox Wulf. (Brassicaceae) from the vicinity of a lead mine and smelter in Slovenia. Environ. pollut. (1987). [Print ed.], 2005, letn. 133, str. 233-242.
KOSTANJŠEK, Rok, LAPANJE, Aleš, DROBNE, Damjana, PEROVIĆ, Svetlana, PEROVIĆ, A., ZIDAR, Primož, ŠTRUS, Jasna, HOLLERT, H., KARAMAN, Gordan S. Bacterial community structure analyses to assess pollution of water and sediments in the lake Shkodra/Skadar, Balkan Peninsula. Environ. sci. pollut. res. int., 2005, letn. 12, št. 6, str. 361-368.
NOLDE, Nataša, DROBNE, Damjana, HORVAT, Milena, JEREB, Vesna. Reduction and methylation of mercury in the terrestrial isopod Porcellio scaber (Crustacea) and its environment. Environ. toxicol. chem., 2005, vol. 24, str. 1697-1704.
JEMEC, Anita, DROBNE, Damjana, TIŠLER, Tatjana, TREBŠE, Polonca, ROŠ, Milenko, SEPČIĆ, Kristina. The applicability of acetylcholinesterase and glutathione S-transferase in Daphnia magna toxicity test. Comp. biochem. physiol., Toxicol. pharmacol., 2007, letn. 144, str. 303-309.
RAZINGER, Jaka, DERMASTIA, Marina, DRINOVEC, Luka, DROBNE, Damjana, ZRIMEC, Alexis, DOLENC KOCE, Jasna. Antioxidative responses of Duckweed (Lemna minor L:) to short-term copper exposure. Environ. sci. pollut. res. int., 2007, letn. 14, št. 3, str. 194-201.
LAPANJE, Aleš, RUPNIK, Maja, DROBNE, Damjana. Gut bacterial community structure (Porcellio scaber, Isopoda, Crustacea) as a measure of community level response to long-term and short-term metal pollution. Environ. toxicol. chem., 2007, vol. 26, no. 4, str. 755-763.


Writing exam, in which the candidate demonstrates his/her knowledge and understanding of the essential course content, and presents how this new knowledge can be included in his/her research project – in front of the course leader and candidate's project supervisor (100%)

Students obligations:

• experimental work
• seminar paper