- Code ENVS3029
- 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
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.
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.
- Compile palaeo-environmental data from a range of sedimentary contexts.
- Reflect on the natural and human influences that explain past environmental conditions and demonstrate these effectively to a broad audience.
A limit will apply on admission into this course. Students will be granted permission on a first come, first serve basis. Students will need to seek permission to enrol in this course via the following website.
There are additional field trip fees of approximately $100 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.
- The field trip will provide students an opportunity to gain practical experience in common field sampling techniques. This will require movement through different natural environments, often navigating rough terrain, carrying sampling equipment and working in variable weather conditions.
Please note: Pending final course enrollment numbers, in consultation with students the field trip may be expanded to a 2 day (1 night) experience.
- Quizzes (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
- Lab Report 1 (20) [LO 2,3,4]
- Lab Report 2 (20) [LO 2,3,4]
- 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 1 day field trip
- Weekly face-to face component - 1 x 2 hour laboratory session.
- Weekly at home study - 1 to 2 hours of pre-recorded lectures and associated activities, plus one hour of associated reading.
- Other home based study - 20 to 30 hours of work associated with the two major assignments.
Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards any discussion sessions.
To complete this course, students must participate in the 1 day field trip to a domestic field location. In order to participate in the trip, students must be able to:
- Travel to the field location;
- Move through different natural environments, often navigating rough terrain, carrying sampling equipment and working in variable weather conditions;
- Monitor and manage their own health while studying and engaging with a small group of people in an isolated field location;
- Understand and respect the needs of other participants and act professionally throughout the trip.
For more information and requirements, please refer to the field trips information page.
Students who can provide evidence they are unable to meet this requirement may be able to choose other options or negotiate alternative participation and assessment requirements with the course convenor.
Requisite and Incompatibility
You will need to contact the Fenner School of Environment and Society to request a permission code to enrol in this course.
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.
Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
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Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.