- Code ENVS6529
- 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 Earth and Marine Sciences, Geography, Archaeology, Environmental Studies, Environmental Science
See https://www.anu.edu.au/covid-19-advice. This course includes on campus/in person activities that cannot be adjusted for remote participants.
The past, the present and the future. These are all aspects of environmental change that palaeoecologists attempt to understand. In essence, palaeoecology enables us to venture back in time and reconstruct landscapes of the past, with much of our understanding of these deep time environmental histories based on the microscopic fossil remains of plants and animals found in sedimentary sequences. There is a rich body of this kind of evidence from around the world and Australia is a fascinating part of the global story.
Participants are introduced to the science of reconstructing past environments through a hands-on research project designed around an environmental research question. Students explore the classic methods and techniques used to understand deep time environmental change through the collection of sedimentary sequences and the laboratory analysis of a number of palaeoenvironmental indicators, such as pollen and charcoal. These two proxy data types reveal what was growing in the landscape at different times in the past and how often it burnt.
The course provides students with an understanding of the intersection between palaeoecology, fire ecology, archaeology, palaeoclimatology and conservation management research. The program also explores how Indigenous people have tended country and altered environmental processes over the millennia, ultimately creating cultural landscapes.
Students will also meet and learn from some of ANU’s leading researchers in this field as well as gain insight into ongoing research in the region, as we delve into how palaeoenvironmental science can play a role in understanding current and future environmental and societal challenges.
Note: Postgraduate students will participate in classes with undergraduate students but will be assessed separately.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Describe the natural and anthropogenic drivers of past environmental change at a global, regional and local scale.
- Describe and explain the techniques that are used to reconstruct past environmental conditions in Australia and abroad.
- Analyse and reconstruct past environmental conditions using appropriate field and laboratory techniques.
- Critique and investigate palaeo-environmental data from a range of sedimentary contexts.
- Reflect on the natural and human influences that explain past environmental conditions and assemble this into a format suitable for a broad audience.
There are additional field trip fees of approximately $110 applicable to participation in this course (payment to ANU Science Shop). Students will be asked to register their intention to participate in the field trip via the course WATTLE site.
- Field-based teaching and learning activity forms an integral and important part of many courses delivered by the Fenner School of Environment & Society. Fieldwork activities are designed to allow you put the skills you’ve learned in the classroom into practice in new environments and provide powerful enrichment to student learning.
If you do not meet the requisites for this course, it may be possible to receive a permission code. If you are prompted for a permission code on ISIS, please request one online via the following form.
- Quizzes (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
- Lab Report 1 (10) [LO 2,3,4]
- Lab Report 2 (10) [LO 2,3,4]
- Literature Review (2000 words) (20) [LO 1,2,3,5]
- Research Project - Video Report (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
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The expected workload for the course equates to approximately 130 hours over the semester made up of the following activities:
- One compulsory weekend long field trip
- Weekly face-to face component - 1 x 3 hour laboratory session.
- Weekly at home study - 1 to 2 hours of lectures and associated activities, plus one hour of associated reading.
- Other home based study - 20 to 30 hours of work associated with the three major assignments.
Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards any discussion sessions.
To be determined
Requisite and Incompatibility
Reading lists will be available on the course WATTLE site.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
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