Course Title: Ecology

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Ecology

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code

Campus

Career

School

Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)

BIOL2183

City Campus

Undergraduate

135H Applied Sciences

Face-to-Face

Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012

Course Coordinator: Dr. Jeff Shimeta

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7151

Course Coordinator Email: jeff.shimeta@rmit.edu.au

Course Coordinator Location: Bundoora campus 223.1.35

Course Coordinator Availability: Email for appointment


Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Students will find that knowledge of biology and chemistry at VCE level will be an advantage, as will completion of courses in plant and animal identification, structure and function.
 


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 - ecosystem level. Energy flow. Productivity. Nutrient cycling. Community structure. Comparing communities. Factors influencing ecosystems, 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, recovery plans. Reserve design. Revegetation. Weed and pest control.
• 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.

 


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Students will develop vocationallly relevant capabilities of critical thinking, analytical ability and descriptive ability,
At the end of the course, students should be able to:
• Relate the key structural and energy flows for a variety of ecosystems
• Explain the concepts of succession and dynamism in ecosystems
• Explain the principles of population dynamics and how these may be used with management of reserves
• Relate the main factors affecting ecosystems (fire, invasions, competition) and their management
• Describe the main features of ecosystem degradation, management of threatened species, weeds and vermin and assess the health of ecosystems
• Select and use appropriate methods to sample terrestrial and aquatic habitats for their main flora and fauna, populations and environmental quality.
 


At the end of the course, students should be able to:
• Relate the key structural and energy flows for a variety of ecosystems
• Explain the concepts of succession and dynamism in ecosystems
• Explain the principles of population dynamics and how these may be used with management of reserves
• Relate the main factors affecting ecosystems (fire, invasions, competition) and their management
• Describe the main features of ecosystem degradation, management of threatened species, weeds and vermin
• Select and use appropriate methods to sample terrestrial and aquatic habitats for their main flora and fauna, populations and environmental quality.


Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities required for this course are:
• attendance at lectures where syllabus material will be presented and explained, and the subject  matter  be illustrated with demonstrations and examples;
• completion of tutorial questions and laboratory projects designed to give further practice in the application of theory and procedures, and to give feedback on student progress and understanding;
• completion of written assignments consisting of numerical and other problems requiring an integrated understanding of the subject matter; and
• private study, working through the course as presented in classes and learning materials, and gaining practice at solving conceptual and numerical problems.
 


Overview of Learning Resources

Students will be provided with lists of relevant texts, library resources (Including appropriate journals) and freely accessible Internet sites. Other material will be provided in class.
Students will be able to access course information and learning material via the internet (via Blackboard).


Overview of Assessment

Course assessment comprises practical reports, assignments, and tests including a final examination. The practical exercises, in particular, are designed with substantial industry input and reports are provided to the industry advisors to oversee assessment.