Ecotoxicology Essentials - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128019474, 9780128019610

Ecotoxicology Essentials

1st Edition

Environmental Contaminants and Their Biological Effects on Animals and Plants

Authors: Donald Sparling
eBook ISBN: 9780128019610
Paperback ISBN: 9780128019474
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 15th April 2016
Page Count: 500
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Ecotoxicology Essentials: Environmental Contaminants and Their Biological Effects on Animals and Plants provides a fundamental understanding of this area for students and professionals in ecotoxicology, ecology, conservation, chemistry, public health, wildlife management, fisheries, and many other disciplines. Although new chemicals and potential problems are developed every year, a basic education is essential to address these new challenges, and this work gives such training. Written with the regulatory framework in mind, the material guides readers on modelling, how to conduct assessments, and human and wildlife risk, focusing on effects on animals rather than transport of chemicals. Simple discussions of chemistry are complemented by coverage on the behavior of the animal, dynamics of the ecosystem, real-life situations like drought, and predators in the system – i.e., the natural system versus the lab setting.

The book’s first section contains chapters on the principles of contaminant toxicology including a brief history of the science of ecotoxicology, basic principles of the science, testing methods, and ways of determining if animals have been exposed to either acute or chronic concentrations of contaminants. The second section deals with the primary classes of contaminants including their chemical characteristics, sources, uses, and effects on organisms. The third section focuses on more complex issues such as the regulation of pollution, population and community effects, risk assessment and modelling.

Key Features

  • Uses examples from both aquatic and terrestrial environments and species
  • Includes a Terms to Know section and a list of study questions in each chapter, fostering a greater understanding of the issues
  • Focuses on the effects of contaminants on wildlife while providing enough chemistry to allow a detailed understanding of the various contaminant groups
  • Emphasizes natural examples and 'real' species, rather than laboratory studies on only a handful of organisms
  • Features case histories, detailing actual events that include aspects of how the contamination occurred and its effects on wildlife
  • Provides material from a wide variety of international sources


Upper level undergraduate and graduate students taking a course in ecotoxicology or wildlife toxicology, from Biology, Zoology, Natural Resource, Wildlife Biology, Environmental Science, Public Health, Geology, Chemistry, or Agriculture Departments; academics and students in wildlife-related study and veterinary schools; researchers and professionals in regulatory agencies looking for a foundational reference on the subject in these areas and evolutionary, conservation, behavioral and ecological biology and ecology; wildlife management; agriculture and natural resources management including those obtaining certification from professional societies in these areas

Table of Contents

  • Section I: Basic Principles and Tools of Ecotoxicology
    • Chapter 1. An Introduction to Ecotoxicology
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Characteristics of Chemicals That Affect Their Presence in the Natural Environment
      • Environmental Factors That Affect Contaminants
      • Basics of Assessing Toxicity
      • Study Questions
      • References
    • Chapter 2. Basics of Toxicity Testing
      • Abstract
      • Introduction and Terms of the Tradecraft
      • Toxicity Testing: Historical Perspectives and Its Role as One Tool in the Ecotoxicology Toolbox
      • Opening the Ecotoxicology Toolbox: Common Elements of Toxicity Tests
      • Good Laboratory Practices
      • Focus—GLPs in Operation
      • Study Questions
      • References
    • Chapter 3. Bioindicators of Contaminant Exposure
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Types of Bioindicators
      • Oxidative Stress
      • Plasma Enzymes
      • Other Blood Components
      • Evidence of Endocrine Disruption
      • Genetic and Chromosomal Damage
      • Histology
      • Genomics and Proteomics
      • Reproductive and Developmental Bioindicators
      • Study Questions
      • References
  • Section II: Chemistry and Effect of Major Families of Contaminants
    • Chapter 4. Organochlorine Pesticides
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Sources and Use
      • General Chemical Characteristics
      • Examples of OCP Concentrations in Environmental Sources
      • Concentrations of OCPS in Animals
      • Biological Effects of Organochlorine Pesticides
      • Focus—Eggshell Thinning
      • Study Questions
      • References
    • Chapter 5. Current Use Pesticides
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • What Is a Current Use Pesticide?
      • Economics of Current Use Pesticides
      • A Brief History of Pesticide Use
      • Types of Pesticides
      • Other Inorganic and Biologic Pesticides
      • Focus—Examples of Pesticide Use
      • Study Questions
      • References
    • Chapter 6. Halogenated Aromatic Hydrocarbons
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Introduction to Polychlorinated Biphenyls, Dioxins and Furans
      • Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers and Polybrominated Biphenyls
      • Focus—In Situ Testing with Tree Swallows
      • Study Questions
      • References
    • Chapter 7. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Chemical Characterististics of PAHs
      • Sources and Uses of PAHs
      • Persistence
      • Remediation of PAH-Contaminated Soils and Sediments
      • Environmental Concentrations
      • Some Examples of Biological Concentrations
      • Biological Effects of PAHs
      • Focus—Oil Spills and Wildlife
      • Study Questions
      • References
    • Chapter 8. Metals
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Sources of Metals in the Environment
      • Biological Effects of Metals
      • Characteristics of Selected Metals
      • Arsenic
      • Cadmium
      • Chromium
      • Copper
      • Lead
      • Mercury
      • Zinc
      • Focus—Avian Mortality Due to Lead Shot, Bullets, and Weights
      • Study Questions
      • References
    • Chapter 9. Other Contaminants
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Plastics
      • Munitions
      • Acid Deposition
      • Pharmaceuticals
      • Nanoparticles
      • Study Questions
      • References
  • Section III: Identifying and Evaluating Large Scale Contaminant Hazards
    • Chapter 10. Population Ecotoxicology: Exposure and Effects of Environmental Chemicals
      • Abstract
      • Introduction: Working Beyond Individual Organisms
      • Spatiotemporal Scales in Ecology and Ecotoxicology
      • Population Ecotoxicology
      • Life Table Analysis
      • Stochasticity and Uncertainty
      • Study Questions
      • References
    • Chapter 11. Community-Level and Ecosystem-Level Effects of Environmental Chemicals
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Communities, Ecosystems, and Spatiotemporal Scales
      • Scientific Support for Community Effects From Contaminants
      • Biological Assessments
      • Communities and Ecosystems: Exposures and Effects
      • Study Questions
      • References
    • Chapter 12. Modeling in Ecotoxicology
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Different Models, Different Realizations
      • Brief Explanations of Some Common Models in Ecotoxicology
      • Mathematical Tools and Ecotoxicology
      • Beyond Mathematical and Statistical Models: Uncertainty and Its Role in Modeling
      • Focus—PCBs and Crab Orchard Lake
      • Study Questions
      • References
    • Chapter 13. Chemical Stressors and Ecological Risk
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Terms of the Tradecraft
      • Historical Perspectives on Chemical Stressors and Ecological Risks
      • Generalized Process for Evaluating Environmental Risks
      • Exposure Models and Food-Chain Analysis for Birds and Mammals
      • Estimating Risks Using Simple Ratio Estimators
      • Cause-and-Effect Relationships, Multiple Stressors, Uncertainty, and Risks
      • Cause-and-Effect Analysis
      • Study Questions
      • References
    • Chapter 14. Contaminant Considerations in Humans
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • How Are Humans Exposed to Contaminants?
      • Some Effects of Environmental Contaminants on Humans
      • Focus—Examples of Major Contaminant—Human Disasters
      • Study Questions
      • References
    • Chapter 15. Regulation of Environmental Chemicals and Damage Assessment
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • International Authorities
      • National Regulation of Contaminants
      • Study Questions
      • References
    • Chapter 16. Wrap Up
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Where Are We Now?
      • What Remains to be Done?
      • Needs and Suggestions for the Future of Risk Assessment and Regulation
      • Acknowledgments
      • References
  • Index


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About the Author

Donald Sparling

Donald W. Sparling is an Associate Professor at Southern Illinois University. Having written more than 100 publications, his research interests in wildlife ecology include contaminant ecology, specifically the effects of contaminants on amphibians, reptiles, and birds; and wetland ecology, including storm water wetlands and the development of an index of biological integrity for assessing wetland conditions.

Affiliations and Expertise

Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory and Department of Zoology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, USA


"Each of these chapters could be the subject of its own book given that sheer volume of research conducted over the past five decades. As such, these chapters serve as a first introduction to these contaminant classes appropriate for undergraduate students or environmental professionals with a limited background in toxicology." --The Quarterly Review of Biology

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