Pollution in the Coastal Arctic

CMM14C Elective Course 6 ECTS
Period -
Instructor Dr. Pernilla Carlsson


In this course, students will be introduced the main chemistry behind contamination in the coastal zone. Chemical interactions on the interface of the sea, land and air will be explained as well as transport of pollutants. The state of the coastal zones in the world will be discussed, as well as regional, national and international monitoring practices and programs. An introduction to designing monitoring program will be presented. Further, an insight into our own life style and the effects we have on the environment will be discussed. At the end of the course, students should have a broad overview over the main environmental hazards towards coastal zones, both natural and man made. The should be able to recognize major pollutants and have an understanding of their source, transport and effects on the ecosystem. Students should be familiar with main methods for detecting environmental hazards and means of monitoring them.

Special focus will be on:

  • Effects of persistant organic pollutants (POPs) and heavy metals on living organisms, with special emphasis on sea-birds
  • Environmental chemistry, where students gain insights into chemical analyses and ecotoxicology
  • Hands-on demonstration of the effects of contamination on living organisms


 At the end of the course, students will:

  • have gained an understanding of the chemical composition of coastal waters and the various natural processes and human activities which have an influence there
  • have gained basic knowledge to design monitoring programmes and assess the results obtained
  • have become familiar with the variety of coastal issues which are important in different parts of the world and international efforts and conventions relating to coastal water quality management



Pernilla Carlsson (Sweden) holds a PhD degree from the University Centre in Svalbard/UiT. The title of her PhD thesis is Selective uptake processes of environmental pollutants induced by climate changes. Pernilla lived in Svalbard for five years, where, apart from PhD studies and teaching, she ran an arctic diving service and trained sled-dogs. She is currently a scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research.