• Offered by Fenner School of Environment and Society
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Environmental Science
  • Areas of interest Forestry, Geography, Interdisciplinary Studies - Sustainability, Resource Management and Environmental Science
  • Academic career Undergraduate
  • Course convener
    • Dr Craig Strong
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course ENVS6104
  • Offered in Second Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings

This course builds an understanding of key processes that have shaped Australia's biophysical environment. Through a coordinated series of modules, students acquire foundation knowledge across a range of environmental science disciplines. One of the world's great drainage basins, the Murray Darling Basin, is used as a case study to connect and integrate these modules into a clear narrative about the processes and issues affecting Australia's environment. In each module the case study is revisited to address topical issues and apply the learning covered in the module. By the end of the course, students will understand the Murray-Darling as an integrated system whose processes and problems reflect the biophysical and social forces that have shaped Australia.

Modules may include:

  • Creating a continent: the breakup of Gondwana - implications for geology, climate, soils and evolution of flora and fauna;
  • Geological events that shaped Australia: faults and rifts, volcanic activity, glaciations, sea level fluctuations;
  • Australia's climate: climate patterns in time and space, the nature and role of climate variability, and the impacts of global warming;
  • Australian landscape evolution: geomorphology, including effects of Aboriginal and European settlement;
  • Water in Australia: how much, where it is, comes from and goes to, and how to regulate its use;
  • Characterising Australian soils: soil formation and description, including aeolian deposition and land salinisation - implications for productivity;
  • Australian vegetation: coping with nutrient deficiency, water, fire, herbivory, weeds;
  • Environmental policy and planning: linking science to policy and practice.

Modules are delivered by a diverse range of disciplinary experts. Lectures are complemented by a strong practical component, in which students learn through posing questions and solving problems in panel discussions, laboratory and field classes, and an overnight excursion.

Honours Pathway Option

Subject to the approval of the course convenor; HPO students will be required to demonstrate greater depth of understanding of the content of the course. HPO students will submit alternative advanced practical and excursion reports, equivalent to a minimum of 20% of overall assessment.

Learning Outcomes

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. understand the Murray-Darling as an integrated system whose processes and problems reflect the biophysical and social forces that have shaped Australia;
  2. describe the geological development of Australia in general, and the Murray Darling Basin in particular;
  3. describe the patterns and processes which characterise Australia’s climate and explain their connection to the evolution of Australian landscapes and biota;
  4. appreciate the unique characteristics of water in Australia and the interacting environmental and social factors that make it so;
  5. describe the development of Australian soils and understand the implications for ecosystem productivity;
  6. describe key morphological traits in Australian plant families and explain their function in coping with  nutrient deficiency, aridity, flood, herbivory and fire;
  7. integrate knowledge across a range of disciplines to understand complex environmental problems and policy approaches to solving those problems.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:

  • Weekly practical and tutorial exercises (40% LOs 1-7)
  • Field trip report (30% LOs 1-7)
  • Mid and end semester tests (30% LOs 1-7)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Workload

60 hours of contact, comprising 2 lectures and up to 2 hours of practicals or tutorials per week; 5 days of fieldwork

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have completed ENVS6104 

Prescribed Texts

Australian Department of Environment & Heritage (2011) State of Australia's Environment. http://www.environment.gov.au/science/soe/2011 

Twidale, C.R. & Campbell, E.M. (2005) Australian Landforms - understanding a low, flat arid and old landscape. Rosenburg Publishing.

Attiwill, P. and Wilson, B. (2006) Ecology: an Australian perspective. Oxford. South Melbourne.

Preliminary Reading


Majors

Minors

Fees

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.

Units EFTSL
6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $3444
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4590
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings and Dates

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery
8194 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person

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