Introduction to Aquatic Toxicology

More Information
Course Title: Introduction to Aquatic Toxicology
Course ID: ETOX-410
Status: CLOSED
Date(s): December 12, 2013: 8:30am - 4:30pm
December 13, 2013: 8:30am - 4:30pm
Location: Best Western Executive Hotel

Richmond, VA
Instructor: Ruth Sofield
Tuition: $645 / $595*
$595 / $545* (Before October 26, 2013)
Class is Closed



This introductory course provides participants with a strong foundation of aquatic toxicology and how these concepts are applied to managing pollutants in aquatic environments. The course covers terminology, common test designs, and endpoints such as lethality and endocrine disruption. Important legacy and emerging pollutants of concern such as heavy metals, organic pesticides, PAHs, PCBs, PBDEs, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and nanoparticles will also be presented. Fate and transport as it relates to bioavailability and pollutant partitioning in aquatic environments will be discussed. Water Quality criteria from the Clean Water Act with an emphasis on, and examples of, site specific criteria for metals using hardness correction, water effects ratio (WER), and the biotic ligand model (BLM) are also included.

After completing this course, participants will be able to:

  • Apply toxicology principles to environmental issues.
  • Understand how aquatic organisms are exposed to toxic chemicals.
  • Identify factors affecting toxicity.
  • Understand similarities and differences between the toxicity of metals and organic chemicals.
  • Understand modes of action of toxic chemicals, types of effects from the molecular to the ecosystem level, and detoxification processes.
  • Assess toxicity in terms of LC50 and EC50, and develop dose-response curves.
  • Identify the advantages and disadvantages of various toxicity testing methods.
  • Understand the scientific basis for and limitations of water quality standards.


"Allowed me to put together a lot of pieces of information and build on existing knowledge. Logical progression of material and good examples." Anonymous, Dec 2015

"The scientific knowledge and teaching methods of the instructor were fantastic. It was very interesting and collaborative which made it fun and interesting." Z. Froyland, March 2014

"Ruth explains things very well and is incredibly knowledgeable on the subject. She kept everyone interested and engaged." A. Kron, March 2014

"The course is an appropriate blend of new methods and technology with longstanding concepts and standards.  The approach of instruction engages attendees to use analytical tools introduced in problem solving then evaluates the value of the conclusion." B. Wanstall, April 2013

*Reduced tuition is available for Native American tribes, government employees, nonprofits, students and AFS, NAEP, NEBC, TAEP members.

You may register online or by calling the Northwest Environmental Training Center at (425) 270-3274. Online registration is strongly encouraged.

Please wait to receive a course confirmation email, roughly one month prior to the class, before making any travel arrangements.

Intended Audience:

This course is designed for professionals seeking a greater understanding of aquatic toxicology and for practitioners and agency personnel, including toxicologists, biologists, ecologists, hydrologists, planners and regulators involved with stream issues.

Continuing Education Units: 1.30 CEUs

More Information

Course Topics

  • Classes of toxic chemicals (carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, and others).
  • Sources of toxic chemicals entering the aquatic environment.
  • Exposure pathways for aquatic organisms.
  • Biological, physical, and chemical factors affecting bioavailability and toxicity.
  • Bioaccumulation, bioconcentration, and biomagnification.
  • Modes of toxic chemical action, including enzyme inhibition and endocrine disruption.
  • Types of toxic effects: biochemical, molecular, physiological, behavioral, population, and community.
  • Toxicity testing methods: acute and chronic, single and multiple species.
  • Laboratory assessment of toxicity: LC50, EC50, NOEC, LOEC, MATC, and dose-response curves.
  • Development and use of water quality standards.
  • Field application of toxicology using the biomarkers.

About the Instructor

Ruth Sofield

Ruth Sofield

Ruth Sofield is an Associate Professor of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in the Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University. She has worked on projects that include: 1) genetically based tolerance to pollutant exposure in marine systems with the NOAA Ecotoxicology Branch, CCHEBR in Charleston, South Carolina, 2) development of groundwater WET tests with photoactive pollutants with the Washington State DOE, 3) understanding humic and fulvic acid interactions with Ag nanoparticles and the effects on chemical speciation and toxicity with Eawag in Dübendorf, Switzerland, and 4) metal contamination and effects in mining systems in Colorado, Idaho, Washington, and British Columbia with agencies including USGS and USEPA.

What to Bring

Drinks and snacks will be provided each day. Lunch will be on your own. If you have choosen the "E-Book" option, note that you must bring a device to view the PDF to class.

Billing Information

In order to guarantee a space in a course, the tuition must be paid in full TWO WEEKS before the first day of the course by either check or credit card. State and government agencies paying with a purchase order are allowed payment under the two-week time frame if a copy of the purchase order is received by NWETC.

If You Need to Cancel


  • With 31 or more days notice, we will offer a 100% refund or credit towards a future course. The credit is good for one year and may be applied to any course.
  • With 30-8 days notice, we will offer a course credit towards a future course. The credit is good for one year and may be applied to any course.
  • With fewer than 8 days notice, there is no course credit available

*Please note that attendee replacement is welcome at any time

Disability Accommodations

Disability Accommodations:

To request disability accommodations, please contact us at [email protected] or 425-270-3274 at least 30 days prior to the event.


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  • To:
  •   7007 W. Broad Street Richmond, VA 23294



*Reduced tuition available to employees of Native American tribes, nonprofits, and government agencies; students; and NAEP members.

If you have any trouble registering please call (425) 270-3274 ext 103
Please wait to receive a course confirmation email, roughly one month prior to the class, before making any travel arrangements. Please review what to bring!


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