Ecophysiology and Ecotoxicology course (EPET)

This course is part of the important scientific restructuring that has taken place in recent years around the environmental sciences, a real societal challenge of the 21st century. It is particularly focused on environmental and ecological issues at the organism level. Indeed, it is the individuals / organisms that react (or not) first to the disturbances of their environment, whether they are of natural or anthropogenic origin. The knowledge and study of biochemical, physiological or behavioral mechanisms implemented by organisms is essential to understand their responses at higher levels of biological organization – populations, communities and ecosystems. This is the purpose of ecophysiology, a discipline at the interface between organism biology and ecology. Particular attention is paid to the role of interactions between organisms, as we now understand the importance of these interactions in the development of the responses of the organisms themselves.

The development of a particular branch of ecophysiology, ecotoxicology, stems from the awareness of the effect of pollutants, not only on human health (the object of toxicology studies), but also on the health of all the ecosystems of our planet. This is why our course devotes sustained attention to ecotoxicology, including its applied or regulatory aspects, leading to jobs at the Bac+5 level.

Ecophysiology and Ecotoxicology course (EPET)


Due to the transversal and methodological courses in Master 1 that are focused on different types of organisms and life environments, and owing to a specialization in Master 2 (animal/plant/microbes, marine/continental, experimentation/regulation), the courses taught by specialists in the field have the following objectives:

  • To train graduates to address the complexity of relationships between organisms and their environment, focusing on the responses of different types of organisms and the consequences at the ecosystem level.
  • Know the main mechanisms of acclimatization and detoxification/resistance of organisms: phenotype plasticity, epigenetics.
  • Illustrate the different levels of approaches used in an environmental context, in the field and/or in the laboratory: molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, ethology.
  • Put into perspective the different abiotic (temperature, light, salinity, water, oxygen, pollutants) and biotic (food availability, parasitism, symbiosis) constraints in a context of anthropization and climate change.
  • To make students aware of the importance of ecophysiological and ecotoxicological studies at the organism level in the resolution of environmental, industrial and management/protection problems of species and ecosystems, in the context of sustainable development.

This training involves many researchers and teacher-researchers from Sorbonne University developing research themes in ecophysiology and/or ecotoxicology on different sites of SU (Pierre and Marie Curie campus at Jussieu, biological stations of Roscoff, Banyuls,...) and on different models (micro-organisms, plants and animals) living in aquatic or terrestrial environments.



First year (M1)

The courses are organized in such a way that students can follow the common core of the BEE mention and progressively acquire knowledge in the fields of the specialization. The core curriculum covers the major environmental issues, data analysis and statistics, databases and remote sensing, English, professional integration, environmental law, and an introduction to the professional field through an internship in a laboratory or company.

A Fundamentals in Biodiversity course is offered to students of all BEE courses. It covers epistemology and history of environmental sciences, questions on evolution, current biodiversity and future issues.

Students in the Ecophysiology and Ecotoxicology track then specifically follow the "Ecophysiology" and "Toxicology and Ecotoxicology" courses. These cross-disciplinary courses deal with the different environments and the different types of organisms in various environmental contexts. The lectures are accompanied by numerous practical work sessions to provide students with the best possible training in the tools of the discipline.

The "Methodological Workshops in Ecophysiology" present a range of analytical tools applicable to any type of organism, regardless of its living environment, and are formalized by fifteen days of continuous practical work.

The internship lasts 2 months or more (if paid) and can take place in a laboratory or company.

Second year (M2)

The range of courses offered in M2 allows students to adapt their training to their professional project. Thus, students can specialize by selecting a combination of UEs of their choice or by choosing a course with predefined UEs.

Therefore, depending on this choice, it is possible to:

  • Obtain a "Vegetable Trail" label
  • Adapt the course more specifically towards continental or marine areas
  • Specialize in environmental toxicology, owing to the scientific and professional courses of the specialty (regulatory (eco)toxicology, environmental law, etc.),
  • or enroll in an international program through an ERASMUS exchange with partner universities or foreign universities offering equivalent training programs.

In S3, students must choose between 24 and 30 ECTS in the panel of UE of the specialization. The possibility is offered to select 6 ECTS outside the EPET panel (other specialties of the BEE master, of Sorbonne University or outside).

In S4, students complete a 30 ECTS internship in a laboratory or company.

The plant pathway of the specialization offers training focused on the physiology of plant responses to environmental constraints and on the new uses of plants in industry or in their environment, in the context of sustainable development. The main mechanisms of plant functioning and their adaptation to the environment are put into perspective through biochemical, molecular, cellular and genetic approaches. Particular attention is paid to the latest concepts and technological innovations in the discipline (phytoremediation, eco-construction, plant eco-engineering, green screens, sustainable management in agriculture, etc.).

This program allows students to acquire skills for jobs in basic or applied research, whether public or industrial, after continuing their studies in a doctorate.

The plant pathway also trains managers in the horticultural and agronomic production sector, in industrial sectors involved in plant processing (sustainable agriculture and agri-food) and in sectors of activity of local authorities and/or consultancy (e.g. evaluation of the quality of environments, preservation of biodiversity, urban landscape planning, etc.).

This "à la carte" course is built by the student according to his or her professional project. It includes the plant UEs of the specialization:

It can be completed by plant-oriented courses from other specialties or other Sorbonne University Masters, to be chosen with the teaching staff.

It includes two internships (one 2-month internship in M1-S2, one 6-month internship in M2-S4) in host teams or partner companies in the plant field.


This specialization offers training focused on the environmental physiology of organisms living in continental ecosystems (agricultural, forest, desert, urban, etc.) that are under increasing anthropic pressure. Due to approaches ranging from genes to behavior, this panel of courses will enable you to better understand the adaptation mechanisms of organisms living in these environments and the consequences of anthropogenic pollution on organisms and intra- and interspecific relationships.

This specialization is built “à la carte” by the student according to their professional project. It includes the following courses:

It therefore facilitates the acquisition of skills for jobs in fundamental or applied research, public or industrial, after pursuing studies in a doctorate. The range of courses can be completed by the "regulatory toxicology" course to acquire a professional specialization and/or by courses chosen from the range of courses in the EPET specialization, from other specializations in one of the Sorbonne University master's programs or from another university (in consultation with the teaching staff).


The ocean is undoubtedly the largest habitat on Earth, and the least known, while global changes directly affect it: warming, acidification, deoxygenation... How will marine organisms adapt to these changes? A choice of courses in M2*, by reinforcing your knowledge of marine organisms, can be completed either by a course in the Oceanography and Marine Ecology (OEM) specialization, or by a course in the Biology and Marine Bioresources (BBMa) specialization of the Integrative Biology major.

* M2 courses in the EPET specialization:


The Regulatory Toxicology and Environmental Law courses in M2 allow you to reinforce your knowledge in these fields and therefore make your training more attractive to employers when you are seeking a job at the Bac+5 level in a profile that includes the evaluation and control of toxic risk.

For the scientific part, you also have the possibility of specializing in environmental toxicology by selecting UE centered on this theme, within the panel of the speciality or in another mention thanks to your free UE of choice.

EPET panel EU in environmental toxicology:


Target audience and prerequisites

This training is intended for students with a Bachelor's degree in biology or equivalent (with a focus on cell biology and physiology, organism biology or ecology), who have a solid knowledge of scientific disciplines and who wish to combine experimental approaches with environmental issues.

Applications will be reviewed based on 3 types of criteria:

  • the quality of the candidate’s academic record, mainly in organismal biology and physiology, but also in other scientific disciplines such as statistics (level of training, transcripts);
  • the relevance and coherence of the training project (motivations and adequacy of the candidate's profile in relation to the targeted professional opportunities);
  • the experience acquired in the field of ecophysiology (choice of additional units, internships, professional or extra-professional activities).



  • Academic or applied research in public or private institutes in the fields of ecophysiology, ethology, ecotoxicology, ecology, environment: researcher, teacher-researcher, engineer.
  • New environmental jobs in biodiversity preservation, sustainable development, management and protection of organisms in the natural environment or in captivity, urban or rural pollution problems (local authorities, nature and zoological parks, associations, foundations and public or private agencies): study manager, mission manager, environment manager, sustainable development manager, regulatory ecotoxicologist.
  • Professions involving the transmission of knowledge (teaching, training, etc.), the dissemination of knowledge, communication, and scientific animation and mediation: teacher, trainer, journalist.
  • Executive in the bio-industry, food industry, pharmaceutical or chemical industry, R&D manager.


Responsible for the course

François LALLIER 



Nadia FOKA

Campus Pierre et Marie Curie
Département de SDUEE
Tour 46-00, 1er étage

Case courrier 210
4, place Jussieu
75005 Paris