Course Title: Investigate ecology

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2019

Course Code: EASC5073

Course Title: Investigate ecology

School: 174T School of VE Engineering, Health & Science

Campus: City Campus

Program: C4386 - Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation

Course Contact: Namrita Kaul

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4387

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Seb Buckingham

Nominal Hours: 40

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

This unit describes the skills and knowledge to apply key ecological principles underpinning issues of concern about any specific type of environment.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU22088 Investigate ecology


1. Explain the levels of classification used in plant and animal taxonomy

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Name the major levels of classification used in plant and animal classification
1.2  Summarise the scientific requirements needed for two organisms to be placed into the same species
1.3  Apply correct use of classification keys for both plants and animals


2. Outline the general characteristics of ecosystems

Performance Criteria:

2.1  Identify the major components and terminologies associated with any type of ecosystem
2.2  Identify the biotic and abiotic features and other major components in specific ecosystem contexts


3. Describe energy flow, nutrient recycling and relationships in living systems

Performance Criteria:

3.1  Categorise specific features and major components of food chains and webs
3.2  Describe energy flow through an ecosystem
3.3  List the different types of  symbiotic relationships that can occur within an ecosystem
3.4  Describe nutrient recycling through living systems


4. Analyse key issues involved in major ecological problems caused by humans

Performance Criteria:

4.1  Discuss and analyse the key issues surrounding an ecological problem caused by human activity
4.2  Provide a detailed analysis of a major ecological problem and its environmental impact using appropriate scientific terminology

Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

Face-to-face classes,
Practical activities,
Field data gathering,
Class discussions,

Teaching Schedule

  Week   Week beginning   Topic   Activity   Assessment
 1  8/7  Introduction

What is an Ecosystem?

Abiotic & Biotic components

Food webs
 2  15/7  Ecology of populations and communities   Field trip: urban park ecosystem   Assessment task 1
3 22/7 Classification and naming  of organisms

Binomial System

Dichotomous Keys 

 4  29/7  

Key issues of human disturbance
implications for ecosystems

  Identifying and classifying water invertebrates.
Building a food web
  Assessment task 2
 5  5/8  Revision & catch up  
 6  12/8    Assessment task 3

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course may include worksheets, reports, assignments and tests

Assessment Tasks

 Assessment task Due date  Marks 
 1.  Describing the major components of an ecosystem
 and associated management issues
 28/7  25%
 2.  Identifying freshwater invertebrates using a dichotomous key
and developing a food-web
 11/8  25%
 3. Written test  14/8  50%

Assessment Matrix

Other Information

Assessment Information

This course is graded in accordance with competency-based assessment, but which also utilises graded assessment
CHD Competent with High Distinction (80 – 100%)
CDI Competent with Distinction (70 – 79%)
CC Competent with Credit (60 – 69%)
CAG Competency Achieved – Graded (50_59%)
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS Did Not Submit for assessment

• Students must be satisfactory in all assessments tasks. Once that has been achieved a grade will be applied

Extension of time for submission of assessable work- A student may apply for an extension of up to 7 days from the original due date. They must lodge the application form (available on the web ) at least the day before the due date. The application form should be emailed to the program Coordinator ( Students requiring longer extensions must apply for Special Consideration (form available on the Web). 
• For missed assessments such as exams- you (& your doctor if you are sick) must fill out a special consideration form. This form must be lodged online with supporting evidence (eg medical certificate), prior to, or within, 5 days of the scheduled time of examination.
• Late work that is submitted without an application for an extension will not be corrected
• If you miss an assessment task due to unavoidable circumstances, you need to follow the procedure of special consideration and apply within the allowed time frame.

Plagiarism is the presentation of the work, idea or creation of another person as though it is your own. It is a form of cheating and is a very serious academic offence that may lead to expulsion from the University. Plagiarised material can be drawn from, and presented in, written, graphic and visual form, including electronic data and oral presentation. Plagiarism occurs when the origin of the material used is not appropriately cited. It also occurs through enabling plagiarism, which is the act of assisting or allowing another person to plagiarise or to copy your own work. Please make sure you consider this carefully in completing all your work and assessments in this course and if you are unsure about whether you might have plagiarised, seek help from your teacher. 

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