BIOS5412 – Toxicants in Ecosystems and Humans: Exposure and Accumulation

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course gives insight into how toxicants are distributed in the environment and accumulated by humans and other organisms. The course focuses on mechanisms and processes that are important to understand distribution and accumulation of toxicants and how these processes are affected by other stressors, physiological and ecological adaptations, life history traits and the phylogenetic history of the organism. The course encompasses both different ecosystems, including organisms, and humans.

Learning outcome

The course will provide in-depth knowledge of how toxicants are distributed in the environment and different ecosystems, and how they accumulate in plants, animals and humans.

After completing the course, you will have knowledge:

  • concerning important drivers for distribution and accumulation of toxicants, including environmental, chemical, physical, physiological and ecological factors.
  • about different methods used to monitor the toxicant exposure in ecosystems and humans, as well as describing the extent of uptake and biomagnification.
  • about exposure- and accumulation-models, statistical tools within ecotoxicology, as well as an understanding of different accumulation metrics and how to calculate them.



Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

PhD-students must register for BIOS9412 – Toxicants in Ecosystems and Humans: Exposure and Accumulation

The courses BIOS5412 and BIOS9412 have common admission. Applicants are ranked by the following criteria:

1. PhD students and master students at the MN faculty who have the course as part of the approved curriculum.
2. Other PhD students, master students and visiting PhD students.
3. Students with admission to single courses on master’s level and exchange students
4. Applicants are ranked by credits in each group; all applicants within 1st rank before applicants in 2nd etc. If admission is limited to a fixed number of participants, admission will be decided by drawing lots for students who are ranked equally


Lectures: 42 hrs;

Fieldwork (compulsory): 2 days;

Computer-exercises (compulsory): 18 hrs;

Lab-exercises (compulsory): 6 hrs;

Discussion groups: 16 hrs.


Participation in Health and Safety courses are required prior to lab-exercises and fieldwork. Reports from exercises are compulsory.

Attendance at the first lecture is compulsory, also for students on the waiting list. You will loose your seat in the course unless notice about absence is given to before the first lecture.

As the teaching involves laboratory and/or field work, you should consider taking out a separate travel and personal risk insurance. Read about your insurance cover as a student.


All compulsory activities must be passed prior to taking the exam. Final 4-hr written exam counts 100%.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed exam at the beginning of the next semester.

New examinations are offered at the beginning of the next semester for students who do not successfully complete the exam during the previous semester.

We do not offer a re-scheduled exam for students who withdraw during the exam.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

It will also be counted as one of the three attempts to sit the exam for this course, if you sit the exam for one of the following courses: BIOS9412 – Toxicants in Ecosystems and Humans: Exposure and Accumulation

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every autumn

The course is offered first time Autumn 2018


Every autumn

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)