BIOMARKERS OF MARINE POLLUTION

BIOMARKERS OF MARINE POLLUTION

_
iten
Code
84097
ACADEMIC YEAR
2018/2019
CREDITS
6 credits during the 2nd year of 10723 MARINE BIOLOGI AND ECOLOGY (LM-75) GENOVA

5 credits during the 2nd year of 10556 MARINE SCIENCES (LM-75) GENOVA

SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR
BIO/09
LANGUAGE
Italian
TEACHING LOCATION
GENOVA (MARINE BIOLOGI AND ECOLOGY)
semester
1° Semester
Teaching materials

OVERVIEW

The course will provide knowledge on the interactions between animals and the abiotic components of marine ad transition environments that can represent a source of environmental stress. The mechanisms involved in the biological response to environmental stressors at different levels of organization (form molecular to individual) and the parameters that can measure the stress response (biomarkers) will be defined. The main standard methods to quantify changes in different biomarkers in different sentinel  organisms will be illustrated.   

AIMS AND CONTENT

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Regular attendance to the lectures and laboratory activities will allow students to acquire basic knowledge in the field of environmental physiology of marine organisms as a background for  studies on the evaluation of the health status of marine organism  in response to environmental stressors, in particular exposure to contaminants. Students will be thus able to:

- identify those environmental variables (T, S, O2, S, pH) that can represent a source of stress for marine organism and to describe the main strategies adopted in response to environmental changes  (avoidance, conformity, regulation)

- describe the main classes on inorganic and organic contaminants that can represent an additions source of stress, inducing sub-lethal responses in the organism

- know biological responses to stress, and how these responses can be quantified by the determination of biological parameters (biomarkers) at different levels of biological organization (fromsub-cellular to organism), that define the progression of effects on the health status of individuals

- understand to biomarker concept as an early and measurable response of organism to environmental stress, to classify the different types of biomarkers (of stress and of exposure) and their characteristic trends at increasing stress conditions

- to acquire knowledge on the main methodological protocols for determining main biomarker responses according to international protocols (OSPAR), also during practical laboratory activities carried out on marine mussels as model sentinel organisms of coastal environments

- to understand the utilization of the biomarker approach in evaluating the development of s stress syndrome in different sentinel organisms

- to apply acquired knowledge in marine biomonitoring programs to evaluate the impact of human activities on organism living in coastal ad transition environments

 

The teorethical/practical laboratory activities are aimed at developing in the students the capacity of planning and carrying out biomonitoring programs; to analyze and critically discuss  obtained data, to face and solve problems related to biomonitoring of coastal marine areas, natural or impacted by human activities, that can affect the health of coastal ecosystems.

PREREQUISITES

Inorganic and organic chemistry, animal physiology, marine biology, marine ecology

Teaching methods

The course is made by both lectures, given using multimedia presentations, and practical laboratory activities. Attendance to both is strongly recommended.

 

Laboratory activities are dedicated to increase knowledge on selected topics of the lectures and to apply some of the main methodologies for biomarker determination in model marine organisms. At the end of each laboratory students will write a short group report.

Laboratory activities include:

  • individual exercise for cell and tissue sampling from marine bivalves and microscopical observatons
  • small group activities (max 4 students) for the evaluation of different biomarkers :

- at cellular level, on immunocytes (Neutral red retention time assay, microscopical observations)

- at tissue level: preparation of subcellular fractions from tissue homogenates (gills and hepatopancreas); soluble protein extraction for determination of metallothionein_MT content; determination of a standard calibration curve for SH groups and protein content, calculations of spectrophotometric data for tissue MT content; preparation of frozen samples of  hepatopancreas for semithin sections for tissue cytochemistry (lysosomal enzyme activities, lipofuscin and lipid content)

- at organism level: sampling of gametes, microscopical observations, in vitro fertilization, set up of embryotoxicity test  

All activities are carried out at DISTAV fully equipped laboratories

SYLLABUS/CONTENT

Lectures:

- environmental variables as a source of stress to the organisms; behavioural, conformity and regulation responses. Physiological mechanisms of the response to main abiotic variables ((T, S, O2). 

- contaminants as a chemical stressors: avaluation of physiological responses to exposure to sub-lethal concentrations of inorganic and organic chemicals

- evaluation of the health statusof the organism in relation to environmental stress: biomarkers form the sub-cellular to organism level.

- the biomarker concept as an early warning signal to environmental stress. Stress and exposure biomarkers.

- biomarker utilization in evaluate the stress syndrome in sentinel organisms and their application in biomonitoring programs

Teorethical/practical knowledge will be provided in order to be able to measure the anthropic impact on living organisms at different levels of biological organization, and to apply them as bioindicators of environmental quality

RECOMMENDED READING/BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

- Willmer et al.,Environmental physiology of animals  Fisiologia Ambientale degli animali -Zanichelli

- Teaching material given by the Materiale fornito dal docente (bibliography, ppt presentations, gudelines).

All teaching materials will be given to the students at the end of the course; part of it (scientific papers, ppt presentations, guidelines) will be available on Aulaweb.

TEACHERS AND EXAM BOARD

Ricevimento: Direct contact with the teacher by e-mail

Exam Board

LAURA CANESI (President)

TERESA BALBI

LESSONS

Teaching methods

The course is made by both lectures, given using multimedia presentations, and practical laboratory activities. Attendance to both is strongly recommended.

 

Laboratory activities are dedicated to increase knowledge on selected topics of the lectures and to apply some of the main methodologies for biomarker determination in model marine organisms. At the end of each laboratory students will write a short group report.

Laboratory activities include:

  • individual exercise for cell and tissue sampling from marine bivalves and microscopical observatons
  • small group activities (max 4 students) for the evaluation of different biomarkers :

- at cellular level, on immunocytes (Neutral red retention time assay, microscopical observations)

- at tissue level: preparation of subcellular fractions from tissue homogenates (gills and hepatopancreas); soluble protein extraction for determination of metallothionein_MT content; determination of a standard calibration curve for SH groups and protein content, calculations of spectrophotometric data for tissue MT content; preparation of frozen samples of  hepatopancreas for semithin sections for tissue cytochemistry (lysosomal enzyme activities, lipofuscin and lipid content)

- at organism level: sampling of gametes, microscopical observations, in vitro fertilization, set up of embryotoxicity test  

All activities are carried out at DISTAV fully equipped laboratories