Ecology

Course code ENVS2004Units 10Level 2000Faculty of Science and Information TechnologySchool of Environmental and Life Sciences

Introduces ecology focusing on population and community dynamics. Through case studies, the course examines the factors affecting the distribution and abundance of species (e.g. competition, predation). The basic models of population growth and how these are affected by the environment and complex behaviour patterns are covered. The course examines the question whether population numbers are regulated or merely responding to the environment. It discusses species diversity, introduced species and biological control, similarity among communities; introduces the use of multivariate analysis methods for studying communities, and application of the island biogeography concept to designs of biological reserves. Australian case studies are used to illustrate concepts. Students will become familiar with the collection and handling of quantitative data and will develop appropriate scientific report writing skills. An understanding of the relationships between populations, communities and the environment is essential for anyone working in the environmental area.

In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory Health and Safety requirement. Students will receive full information on this compulsory component in the course outline provided by the school.

Not to count with BIOL2070 Ecology.

Available in 2015

Callaghan CampusSemester 2
OurimbahSemester 2
Previously offered in 2014
ObjectivesOn successful completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate:

1. An understanding and appreciation of the role of biology in environmental science;
2. An understanding of population dynamics;
3. An understanding of the complexity of communities and their interactions with the environment;
4. Skills in the observation and recording of field and laboratory data;
5. Skills in the interpretation and analysis of data;
6. Skills in the communication of ideas, observations and conclusions;
7. The ability to locate and assess relevant published information on ecological topics;
Content1. FACTORS AFFECTING THE DISTRIBUTION OF SPECIES
a) Evolutionary, historical, genetic and environmental factors

2. POPULATION GROWTH
a) life tables and population projections
b) exponential growth
c) environmental factors affecting population growth

3. BEHAVIOUR AND RESOURCE UTILIZATION
a) case studies

4. PREDATOR-PREY AND COMPETITION MODELS
a) Case studies

5. COMPETITION MODELS
a) Case studies

6. COMMUNITY STRUCTURE AND ANALYSIS
a) Similarity and distance
b) Cluster analysis, ordination, and other multivariate analyses
c) Diversity indices
d) Species distribution models
e) Island biogeography and its application

7. PRACTICAL COMPONENT
1) Field excursions to investigate animal and plant communities
2) Laboratory based investigations
3) Use taxonomic key
4) Statistical analysis and interpretation of results
5) Study of population growth through computer simulations
6) Information gathering, collation and evaluation
7) Multivariate analyses and interpretation of ecological data using ordination and clustering techniques
Replacing Course(s)BIOL2070 Ecology
TransitionNot to count for credit with BIOL2070 Ecology.
Industrial Experience0
Assumed KnowledgeSTAT1070, Statistics for the Sciences plus BIOL1001 or BIOL1002, AND BIOL1003 (for Callaghan students) or BIOL1040 and BIOL1050 (for Ourimbah students)
Modes of DeliveryInternal Mode
Teaching MethodsField Study
Lecture
Practical
Tutorial
Assessment Items
Essays / Written Assignments
Examination: Formal
Quiz - Class
Reports
Contact HoursLecture: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Compulsory Components
Compulsory Course ComponentOHS-Safety Induction or Risk Assessment. In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory safety induction.
Timetables2015 Course Timetables for ENVS2004