- Code BIOL6004
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
- ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
- Course subject Biology
- Areas of interest Plant Science, Evolution and Ecology
Ecology concerns the fundamental patterns and flows in natural biological systems. We consider how organisms interact with their physical environment and with each other to shape their individual attributes, patterns of population dynamics, distribution, diversity and abundance. We consider these interactions across scales of time and space, the patterns and processes of community assembly and how ecosystems work and affect the physical and biological environments. Why are some organisms found here, and not there? Why do plants and animals look and work like they do? How does this affect how ecosystems work? What makes the populations of different organisms large or small, or change in size? Why do some organisms co-exist together, and others not? Why is there so much diversity and how does it affect how communities and ecosystems work? In addressing these questions, we gain critical insight into how populations and communities have evolved, how energy and biomass flow through ecosystems, and how populations and communities respond to changes in their environment. These changes may result from natural disturbances such as changes in climate, through altered disease prevalence or competition, or from human modification of habitat, perhaps through overharvesting or species removal.
In this course you will explore the foundations in ecological thinking, in relevant field methods and in the application of ecology for understanding and conserving natural ecosystems. The course will consider the major biological kingdoms, and will address key themes, including the study of organisms, populations, communities and ecosystems, placing them in context across physical scales from the individual to the Earth system, across processes from the flow of mass and energy to biotic interactions such as competition, and across modes of study from theory to practice.There is a compulsory 3 days field trip to the university Kioloa Coastal Campus. A significant proportion of the final mark will derive from full engagement with this part of the course.
Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but are assessed separately.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Examine and summarise central ideas underpinning the ecology of individuals, populations, communities and/or ecosystems;
- Integrate ecological understanding of processes operating across multiple scales of space and time;
- Understand how observation, experimentation and modelling can be used to generate and test ecological hypotheses;
- Think critically about scientific evidence to understand ecological patterns and processes;
- Conduct basic ecological research and communicate the findings;
- Work as a research team and provide effective peer support;
- Synthesise understanding of ecological methods and data analysis, and represent this in a standard report format;
- Learn to build evidence-based arguments for how populations, communities and/or ecosystems might respond to changes in their biological and physical environments.
There will be 3-day fieldtrip in Kioloa in March. Details of the fieldtrip costs/dates will be published in the class summary.
Field trip costs are in addition to the tuition fees and can paid through Scienceshop . Indicative cost : $200
- Field and class practical reports 3 x 20% each (60) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
- Scientific Report (extended essay) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8]
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The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:
- Face-to face component which may consist of 3 x 1 hours lectures per week. 5 x 4 hours of practical throughout the semester.
- Compulsory 3 days field trip to Kioloa Coastal Campus.
- Approximately 50 hours of self-study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.
Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards discussions.
To complete this course, students must participate in an approximately 3 day field trip. In order to participate in the trip, students must be able to:
- Travel to the field location and stay in field accommodation such as shared basic cabins or dorm rooms;
Students who cannot meet these requirements will not be able to participate in the trip and therefore cannot complete the course. For more information, please refer to the trip information page.
In addition, in order to participate in some of the activities on the trip, students must be able to:
- Safely traverse 1-3 km over uneven ground at a moderate pace.
Students who can provide evidence they are unable to meet this requirement may be able to negotiate alternative participation and assessment requirements with the course convenor.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsKey readings will be provided on Wattle.
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:
- 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.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.