Organisms to Ecosystems

Description

This course introduces the taxonomic and functional diversity of organisms together with their interactions with each other and the physical world.

Students will gain an understanding of the immense scale of biological diversity, how that diversity arose and what are the essential elements required to maintain that diversity. This course is also the gateway to real understanding of how organisms work including the development and function of multicellular organisms. This understanding of the organism will then be expanded to interactions between organisms as populations, communities and ecosystems. Understanding how organisms and ecosystems function enables us to move towards living systems that are aligned with natural processes and are essential ingredients to sustainability.

Students who have completed this course are well placed to study further studies in: animal and plant development and function; microbiology; ecology, biodiversity and environmental biology courses at 2000 and 3000 level.

Availability

Callaghan Campus

  • Semester 2 - 2015

Learning Outcomes

1. biodiversity and its evolutionary history.

2. biological terminology in relation to tissues, organisms, ecology and ecosystems

3. the diversity of the form, development and function of microbes and multicellular organisms

4. concepts of micro and macro evolution and speciation and outline mechanisms underpinning taxonomic and functional diversity.

5. concepts in ecosystem function and anthropocentric environmental impact in the Australian context

6. fundamental skills in the collection and interpretation of biological information

7. critical thinking and the scientific approach

Content

Introduction to the Ecosystem - Ecosystems are made up of a diversity of organisms which interact with each other and the physical environment to perform ecosystem functions. Course aims to outline origin and scale of organism diversity and how they interact with the physical environment to form the living Earth.

Origin and Scale of Diversity:

  • Evolving life and mechanisms of evolution
  • Origin of species
  • Kingdoms of living things
  • Coping with complexity - Classification and relatedness

Biology of Organisms:

  • Diversity and function of microbes & fungi
  • Diversity, development & function of plants
  • Diversity, development & function of animals

Ecology and Ecosystem Function:

  • The Australian Biota
  • Populations & Communities
  • Biomes and Australian Ecosystems
  • Ecosystem functions
  • Human Impacts on the Australian Environment

Assumed Knowledge

HSC Mathematics and Chemistry are advisable.

Assessment Items

Formal Examination: Exam

Quiz: Quiz-On-Line

Contact Hours

Lecture

Face to Face On Campus 4 hour(s) per Week for Full Term