- Code BIOL6004
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
- ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
- Course subject Biology
- Areas of interest Plant Science, Evolution and Ecology
Ecology concerns the fundamental patterns and flows in natural biological systems. We consider how organisms interact with their physical environment and with each other to shape their individual attributes, patterns of population dynamics, distribution, diversity and abundance; and across scales of time and space, the patterns and processes of community assembly and ecosystem function. Why are some organisms found here, and not there? Why do plants and animals look and work like they do? What makes their populations large or small, or change in size? Why do some organisms co-exist together, and others not? Why is there so much diversity? In understanding these questions, we gain critical insight into how populations and communities have evolved, how energy and biomass flow through ecosystems, and how populations and communities respond to changes in their environment. These changes may result from natural disturbances such as changes in climate, through altered disease prevalence or competition, or from human modification of habitat, perhaps through overharvesting or species removal.
The aim of this course is to provide a foundation in ecological thinking, in relevant field methods and in the application of ecology for understanding and conserving natural ecosystems. The course will consider the major biological kingdoms, and will address key themes, including the study of organisms, populations, communities and ecosystems, placing them in context across physical scales from the individual to the Earth system, across processes from the flow of mass and energy to biotic interactions such as competition, and across modes of study from theory to practice.
Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but are assessed separately.
Learning OutcomesOn satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Examine and summarise central ideas underpinning the ecology of individuals, populations, communities & ecosystems;
- Integrate ecological understanding of processes operating across multiple scales of space and time;
- Understand how observation, experimentation and modelling can be used to generate and test ecological hypotheses;
- Think critically about scientific evidence to understand ecological patterns and processes;
- Conduct basic ecological research and communicate the findings;
- Work as a research team and provide effective peer support and feedback.
- Reflect on how their understanding of ecological concepts has changed, and how this helped you better understand the structure and function of populations, communities and ecosystems;
- Develop evidence-based arguments for how populations, communities and ecosystems will respond to changes in their biological and physical environments.
Field Trip: As an indication, the cost to students for the 3 days field trip will be $170. The field trip will be held in Kioloa during 17-19 March 2017.
The Biology Teaching and Learning Centre is located in Building 116. Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a permission code to enrol in this course.
- Scientific Reports (40%): You will synthesise information from the literature with new data to present the outcomes of ecological research in written and/or graphical form (LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
- Practical presentations (20%): Working as a team, you will present a summary of your findings in response to a challenge or applied ecological question (LO 5, 6).
- Reflective Learning Journal (40%): You will be asked to keep a reflective learning journal that records how your understanding of key ecological concepts has changed via key readings, course activities and discussions. This will require you to think critically, integrate multiple sources of information, and present a logical written argument on how your ecological understanding can be applied to explain the response of populations, communities and/or ecosystems to a key change in their biological and/or physical environment (LO 4,7,8).
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WorkloadUp to three lectures per week and 6 x three-hour toturial/practicals over the semester.
Requisite and Incompatibility
You will need to contact the Biology Teaching and Learning Centre to request a permission code to enrol in this course.
Prescribed TextsKey readings will be provided on Wattle.
Indicative Reading List
Assessment will be based on:
- Essay on the importance of density-dependent processes in fertility control programs (30 %; LO 1, 2, 3,4)
- Practical exam to assess ability to use EXCEL to solve and interpret simple population models (20 %; LO 5)
- Theory exam (50%; LO 1, 2, 3, 4)
- Optional mid-term practice exam designed to familiarise the student with the format of the theory exam (20%). This mark may be used to replace the practical exam mark.
- Two hours of lectures, a 1 hour tutorial and 1.5 hour practical per week.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Band 2
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees. Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
Offerings and Dates
|Class number||Class start date||Last day to enrol||Census date||Class end date||Mode Of Delivery|
|4518||20 Feb 2017||27 Feb 2017||31 Mar 2017||26 May 2017||In Person|