Ecology

Description

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.

Availability

Callaghan Campus

  • Semester 2 - 2015

Ourimbah

  • Semester 2 - 2015

Learning Outcomes

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; and

7. The ability to locate and assess relevant published information on ecological topics.

Content

  1. FACTORS AFFECTING THE DISTRIBUTION OF SPECIES

 

  1. Evolutionary, historical, genetic and environmental factors

 

  1. POPULATION GROWTH

 

  1. life tables and population projections
  2. exponential growth
  3. environmental factors affecting population growth

 

  1. BEHAVIOUR AND RESOURCE UTILIZATION

 

  1. case studies

 

  1. PREDATOR-PREY AND COMPETITION MODELS

 

  1. Case studies

 

  1. COMPETITION MODELS

 

  1. Case studies

 

  1. COMMUNITY STRUCTURE AND ANALYSIS

 

  1. Similarity and distance
  2. Cluster analysis, ordination, and other multivariate analyses
  3. Diversity indices
  4. Species distribution models
  5. Island biogeography and its application

 

  1. 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)

This course replaces the following course(s): BIOL2070. Students who have successfully completed BIOL2070 are not eligible to enrol in ENVS2004.

Assumed Knowledge

STAT1070, Statistics for the Sciences plus BIOL1001 or BIOL1002, AND BIOL1003 (for Callaghan students) or BIOL1040 and BIOL1050 (for Ourimbah students)

Assessment Items

Quiz: Quiz - Class

Written Assignment: Essays/Written Assignments (Research Proposal)

Report: Reports (Lab sheets)

Formal Examination: Formal Examination

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Laboratory: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions. - In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory safety induction.

Contact Hours

Laboratory

Face to Face On Campus 40 hour(s) per Week for 1 Weeks

One week laboratory/fieldwork/tutorial intensive during the mid semester break (9-5, Mon-Fri)

Lecture

Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term