Pollution Ecology (ENSC 540 & BIOL 468, Fall 2013)

Instructor: Dr. Zhi-Qing Lin

Office: 2180 Science Building West

Email: zhlin@siue.edu

Phone: 618-650-2650

Class schedule: Wednesdays, 6:00-8:50 pm, 3225 SL

TA office hours: 4:00 pm 5:30 pm on Wednesdays in 2095 SLW (Lin Lab)

Course Description:

This course covers a wide range of topics in the environmental sciences, with particular emphasis on the transport and fate of pollutants in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The course examines the influence of physical, chemical, and biological processes on the transport of pollutants in the environment. Students will explore ecological effects of selected environmental pollution problems; particularly those related to chemical contaminants. This course will provide the base scientific knowledge that is essential for assessing the impact of pollution on the structure and function of ecosystems.

Course Prerequisites: One year of biology and chemistry, or consent of Instructor

Textbooks: Environmental Pollution Science (second edition), by I.L. Pepper, C.P. Gerba, and M.L. Brusseau. Academic Press, 2006; Chemical Fate and Transport in the Environment, 2nd Edition, by H. F. Hemond and E.J. Fechner-Levy. Academic Press, 2000.

Additional handouts (e.g., recent peer-reviewed research publications) will be given during the lecture time.

Course Objectives:

1) To study the fundamental concepts and principles of mass transport, chemical partitioning, and biological transformation in the environment;

2) To examine the influence of physical, chemical, and biological processes on the transport of pollutants in the environment;

3) To explore the potential impact of chemical pollutants on the structure and function of ecosystems.

Grading Policy:

Class exams (two midterms and one final exams): Material presented in class lectures and required readings will form the basis for examination questions. Class examinations will require an understanding of lecture and reading materials, and result in applications of the knowledge to practical situations. One group research presentation will be given during the class lectures.

Grading: Midterm I: 20%; Midterm II: 35%; Research presentation (group): 10%; Assignments: 10%; Final exam: 25%; Total Points: 100. A: >90, B: 80-89, C: 70-79, D: 60-69, and F:<60.

Late assignments will be marked down 10% a day, unless arrangements are made with the instructor prior to the due date. Assignments more than 5 days late will not be accepted.

Graduate students will be required to prepare their research presentations more thoroughly and in depth. Each exam will also have at least one extra question for graduate students to answer. To answer those extra questions, a more comprehensive understanding of the text book and materials will be required.

Attendance Policy:

Regular prompt attendance is required for success in this course. Only University approved absences will be accepted. However, excessive absences may result in a 10% reduction of your overall grade or your being dropped from the course.

Academic Misconduct:

"Acts of academic misconduct for which students are subject to sanctions include, without limitation, plagiarism, cheating, failure or refusal to follow clinical practice standards, falsifying or manufacturing scientific or educational data and/or representing manufactured data to be the result of scientific or scholarly experiment or research, and soliciting, aiding, abetting, concealing, or attempting such act. Plagiarism is defined as including, without limitation, the act of representing the work of another as one's own. Plagiarism may consist of copying, paraphrasing, or otherwise using the written, electronic, or oral work of another without proper acknowledgement or consent of the source or presenting oral, electronic, or written material prepared by another as one's own. Plagiarism also includes using information from electronic resources, including the Internet, without the use of proper citations." (SIUE Student Academic Code)

In the event of academic misconduct, the student is subject to a number of penalties, including a failing grade for a plagiarized assignment or for a course.

Students with Disabilities


Students with disabilities should visit the Disability Support Services (DDS) located in the Student Success Center, Room 1270, at their earliest convenience to meet the director and discuss available services. The student with a documented disability and a disability ID card from DSS should also notify the instructor as soon as possible to make any necessary arrangements, including assistance in case of emergency evacuation.

Lecture Schedule:

Week 1, August 21:

Course introduction: basic concepts, pollution and population


Week 2, August 28:

Air pollution: physical and chemical properties of the atmosphere, characteristics of air pollution


Week 3, September 4:

Transport of pollutants in the atmosphere: effects of atmospheric conditions and pollution sources, atmospheric deposition, long-range transport


Week 4, September 11:

Soil pollution: abiotic characteristics of soil, biotic activity in soil


Week 5, September 18:

Midterm I: Covers materials from Weeks 1 4

Student research discussion


Week 6, September 25:

Physical and chemical processes affecting pollutant transport in soil


Week 7, October 2:

Water pollution: characteristics of pollutants in inland water, groundwater, and the Oceans


Week 8, October 9:

Transport of pollutants in water: physical transport, air-water exchange

Outline of group research project due


Week 9, October 16:

Structure and function of ecosystem: food webs, energy flow, biogeochemical cycling of mineral nutrients

Biological processes affecting pollutant transport in ecosystems: degradation, bioaccumulation, magnification, transformation


Week 10, October 23:

Pollutants in ecosystems: pathways and fate of pollutants in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems


Week 11, October 30:

Ecotoxicology of pollutants: biomagnification and biotransformation of pollutants through the food chain


Week 12, November 6:

Special topics: Waste disposal, agricultural sources of pollution


Week 13, November 13:

Midterm II: Covers materials from Weeks 6 10

Student research discussion


Week 14, November 20:

Biogeochemistry of environmentally important trace elements - case studies and classroom discussion


Week 15, November 27:

Thanksgiving break (no class)


Week 16, December 4:

Student research presentations


Week 17, December 11:

Final Exam: Covers materials from Weeks 11 16