- Code ENVS6104
- 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.
Proposed modules 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 salinization - 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.
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:
- critically appraise the role of the Murray-Darling as an integrated system whose processes and problems reflect the biophysical and social forces that have shaped Australia;
- understand the geological development of Australia in general, and the Murray Darling Basin in particular;
- recognise the patterns and processes which characterise Australia’s climate and explain their connection to the evolution of Australian landscapes and biota;
- discuss 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;
- recognise 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 critically evaluate complex environmental problems and critique policy approaches to solving those problems.
- formulate and test hypotheses and synthesise results in a scientific report.
Other InformationThere are additional field trip fees of approximately $160 applicable to participation in this course (payment to ANU Science Shop).
- Field trip reports (40%)
- Scientific report (20%)
- Weekly practical exercises (20%)
- Final examination (20%)
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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
General science knowledge.
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
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