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Professional Short Courses

COURSE TITLE: Toxic Pollution in Wetlands and Remediation Actions

INSTRUCTORS Ahmad Mahdavi, PhD

COURSE DESCRIPTION Toxic Pollution in Wetlands and Remediation Actions
Presented by Ahmad Mahdavi, PhD, Entomologist/ Ecotoxicologist

Wetlands are valuable ecosystems with many functions that include the provision of fish and wildlife habitat, water quality protection, erosion and sedimentation control, and flood storage and recreation. Wetlands are also critical habitat for many species of migratory birds, including game species that are of great ecological and economic value.

Toxic pollution threatens a diversity of wetland fauna. Pesticides and biocides are key sources of pollution, while others may include lead and metal pollution, arsenic, mercury, pharmaceutical, toxic algae/ cyanotoxins; and many have potential for sediment contamination. Point and non-point sources of wastewater are discharged to wetlands by industry, municipalities, and other land uses within their drainage basins.

The following was a Message from World Wetlands Day 2015, regarding Toxic Threats in Asian Wetlands: In Asian countries many wetlands are connected to rice paddies that have been polluted by many types of pesticides and fertilizers. Although most direct application of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and their metabolites have ceased, many persist and intoxicate all habitats and niches. Currently, threats from very new sophisticated toxic agents like Neonicotinoids have resulted in diminished cohort development in birds.

Remediation of toxic pollution in wetlands may be accomplished by phytoremediation, also known as phytoextraction, phytoaccumulation, or phytosequestration. Phytoremediation uses plants or algae to remove contaminants from soil or water into harvestable plant biomass and is important in constructed wetlands. Constructed wetlands recreate the functions of natural wetland plant communities consisting of a highly diverse mix of grasses, sedges, forbs (broadleaf plants), ferns, shrubs, and trees. Wetland plants can be classified into general categories which include emergent, submerged, and floating plants based on their adaptations to life in water (Indika Herath and Meththika Vithanage, 2015).

Ahmad Mahdavi is from Iran and is an insect/ pesticide environmental toxicologist. He earned both Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the University of Tehran (Karaj) in 1974 and 1981 in entomology/ pesticide toxicology, respectively. He earned his PhD from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada in 1990, and his studies included entomology and pesticide toxicology. He has been involved in detailed studies of insect evolution and coevolutionary processes in the context of insect-plant interactions and chemical ecology.

As one of the pioneers of ecotoxicology, in a joint symposium between Guelph and MSU (USA), and later in the UC Berkeley (2000), Dr. Mahdavi started a broad study in the impacts of pesticides on the environment, wildlife, and pesticide related health effects on humans. Dr, Mahdavi moved to the University of Tehran 1998 and in 2002 established the NGO: Sustainable agriculture and environment for pesticide/ chemicals pollution reduction and regulations in Iran.The NGO was later established in Ontario and then globally. Dr. Mahdavi is a member of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), which is the only global, and United Nations-based, intergovernmental organization established exclusively for the conservation and management of terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species. His focus in the UNEP-includes membership in the working group to prevent poisoning, for the protection of people, the environment, and wildlife against toxic compounds, in particular on toxic impact on wetlands and migratory birds with many recent international presentations. Dr. Mahdavi is a member of the Mountain partnership, Iranian Society of Toxicology, the Entomological Society of America, the International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics, the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, the Sustainable Consumption and Production clearinghouse, and many other national and international societies. Dr. Mahdavi introduced the neem tree, Azadirachta indica, from the Persian Gulf area to the world. In recent years, he has focused on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, climate change issues, Ecosystem Based Adaptations, and global activities to conserve migratory birds, Cooperation with Eye on Earth, digital earth, open data, computational toxicology, and many other recent global developments to conserve biodiversity. He is an avid user of Information and Communications Technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), and geospatial information for biodiversity in the agri-environment.

Credit Points: 0.06

SYLLABUS/TOPICAL OUTLINE 1) Wetlands as valuable ecosystems (15 minutes); 2) Threats of toxic pollution to wetlands (15 minutes); 3) Remediation of toxic pollution in wetlands (15 minutes); 4) Questions and answers (15 minutes).

Louis Mantini
9225 CR49, Live Oak, FL 32060
P: 386.647.3144


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Society of Wetland Scientists Professional Certification Program
Last Updated 10/1/20