Course Title: Ecology

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Ecology

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016

Course Coordinator: Dr. Jeff Shimeta

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7151

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Bundoora 223.1.35

Course Coordinator Availability: by appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Assumed knowledge and capabilities from ONPS2334 Scientific Skills & Communication; BIOL2146 Cell Structure & Function; and CHEM1242 Chemistry Principles. Additionally beneficial courses include BIOL2258 Animal Structure & Function; BIOL2151 Animal Diversity; BIOL2156 Plant Structure & Function; BIOL2270 Plant Diversity.

Course Description

This course covers theoretical ecology and practical skills in ecological sampling techniques, enabling the study of ecological systems and environmental pollution. Field work uses ecological sampling techniques required for solving applied ecological problems and preparing critical scientific reviews. Topics covered are:

  • Basic ecological principles - population level. Population sizes and distributions, survey design, population dynamics, viable population size, conservation of species, ordination and classification in vegetation, ECVs.
  • Basic ecological principles, community and ecosystem level.  Energy flow, productivity, nutrient cycling, community structure, comparing communities, factors influencing scosystems including fire.
  • Habitat ecology, Sampling techniques for plants and animals in freshwater, marine and terrestrial habitats, assessment of environmental quality and factors regulating populations.
  • Environmental management techniques and problems.  Degradation types and causes, threatened species and recovery plans, reserve design, revegetation, weed and pest control.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes at AQF level 7

  • PLO 2  Scientific knowledge
  • PLO 3 Inquiry and problem solving
  • PLO 4 Communication

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes at AQF level 9

  • PLO 1.1 A body knowledge that includes the understanding of recent developments in both the understanding of environmental processes and the technological advances in measurement techniques, remediation processes and pollution control.
  • PLO 1.2 Knowledge of the research principles and methods applicable to studying the chemical, biological and physical processes occurring in the environment.
  • PLO 2.2 Cognitive, technical and creative skills enabling you to investigate analyse and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories about the environment and to apply established theories to different areas of knowledge or practice concerning the environment.
  • PLO 2.5 Technical and communication skills to design, evaluate, implement, analyse and theorise about developments that contribute to environmental professional practice or schholarship.


On completion of this course you should be able to:


  1. Explain the key structural components and energy flows for a variety of ecosystems. 
  2. Explain the principles of population and community dynamics and How these can be used with ecological management 
  3. Explain major factors affecting eco systems(e.g. fire, invasion, competition) and their management 
  4. Describe the main features of eco system degradation, management of threatened species, weeds and vermin, and assess the health of ecosystems. 
  5. Select and use appropriate methods to sample terrestrial and aquatic habitats for their main flora,  fauna, and environmental quality 
  6. Analyze  and critically evaluate environmental data.

 Postgraduate students should also be able to:


  1. Critically evaluate published, primary scientific literature.


Overview of Learning Activities

Attendance at lectures, laboratory  practicals, and field excursions. Completion of assignments and practical projects designed to give further practice in the application  of theory and procedure, and to give feedback on your progress and understanding.  Completion of written assignments requiring an  integrated understanding of the subject matter . Excursions will introduce you to various habitats and methods of conducting surveys, identifying organisms, and collecting and analysing data.  Private study, working through the course material  as presented in classes and learning materials, and gaining practice at solving conceptual problems.

Total Study Hours

Most weeks include 2-4hours of lectures and/or 3 or more hours of laboratory practical or excursions. There will be four mandatory excursions for field work.

A minimum of 4 hours per week of independent study is recommended.



Overview of Learning Resources

The course web site provides a syllabus, lecture notes, handouts for laboratory practicals and excursions, sample test questions, and references to additional resources. A textbook is required.

Overview of Assessment

Note that:

☒This course has no hurdle requirements.

☐ All hurdle requirements for this course are indicated clearly in the assessment regime that follows, against the relevant assessment task(s) and all have been approved by the College Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching).


  1. Excursion reports 40% (supports CLOs 5 & 6).

You must attend each excursion and complete all excursion activities in order to receive credit for each report.


  1. Mid-semester test and exam: 60% for undergrads, 45% for postgrads (supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, & 6).


The postgraduate course also includes:


  1. Literature review 15% (supports CLO 7).