- Code ENVS1004
- Unit Value 6 units
- 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
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.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- understand the Murray-Darling as an integrated system whose processes and problems reflect the biophysical and social forces that have shaped Australia;
- describe the geological development of Australia in general, and the Murray Darling Basin in particular;
- describe the patterns and processes which characterise Australia’s climate and explain their connection to the evolution of Australian landscapes and biota;
- appreciate the unique characteristics of water in Australia and the interacting environmental and social factors that make it so;
- describe the development of Australian soils and understand the implications for ecosystem productivity;
- describe key morphological traits in Australian plant families and explain their function in coping with nutrient deficiency, aridity, flood, herbivory and fire;
- integrate knowledge across a range of disciplines to understand complex environmental problems and policy approaches to solving those problems.
Other InformationThere are additional field trip fees of approximately $160 applicable to participation in this course (payment to ANU Science Shop).
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)
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60 hours of contact, comprising 2 lectures and up to 2 hours of workshops per week; 5 days of fieldwork
Requisite and Incompatibility
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.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
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- Student Contribution Band:
- 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.
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