ecology-and-conservation-biology/index

aos

Undergraduate - Area of Study

Students who commenced study in 2012 should refer to this area of study entry for direction on the requirments; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your area of study.

print version

All areas of study information should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook. The units listed for this area of study relate only to the 'Requirements' outlined in the Faculty of Science component of any bachelors double degrees.

Managing facultyFaculty of Science
Offered bySchool of Biological Sciences
Campus(es)Clayton
CoordinatorDr Ross Thompson (School of Biological Sciences)

Notes

  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the handbook are not available for study in the current year.

Description

Globally, loss of biodiversity and the associated ecosystem services is reaching crisis levels. Ecology is the scientific study of interactions between organisms and their environment, the understanding of which is of both fundamental and applied interest. The major sequence in ecology and conservation biology equips students with knowledge of core ecological principles at levels from individuals to ecosystems. Strong emphasis is placed on applying those principles to real-life management issues, particularly in the conservation field. The key goals are to describe and explain pattern and process in the natural world, understand human impacts and devise practical means to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem function.

Objectives

On completion of the major sequence in ecology and conservation biology students will:

  • understand the principles underlying interactions between organisms and their environment, and the application of those principles to conservation management
  • be able to apply analytical and practical skills involved in the conduct of ecological studies in terrestrial, marine, or freshwater environments; these are underpinned by basic skills, including the identification of plants and animals, laboratory and field methods for their study, and assessing their relationships with the physical and biotic environment
  • have developed analytical and practical management skills, including survey and inventory of biodiversity, ecological measurement, and techniques relevant to biological conservation, from genes to species to ecosystems; these include measurement of genetic and species diversity, adaptive management, risk analysis, and decision-making theory
  • have developed, in the context of the discipline, the graduate attributes of effective communication, quantitative literacy, information and communication literacy, inquiry and critical thinking, and ethical, social and international understanding
  • be fully prepared for further study, research and employment in ecology and conservation biology or a related area of the biological sciences.

Units

Level one

Level two

Level three

Sequence requirements

Minor sequence in ecology and conservation biology (24 points)

Major sequence in ecology and conservation biology (48 points)

Additional information

Level one

Coordinator: Dr Gerry Rayner/Dr Ross Thompson

Students studying ecology and conservation biology in their first year will take BIO1011 plus BIO1022 and/or BIO1042. The focus in first year is to provide the basic knowledge on the structure and evolution of animals, their cellular and molecular composition and the fundamentals of patterns and processes in ecological systems. Examples are drawn from a wide range of invertebrate and vertebrae animals to illustrate and explain the participants in ecological communities and their interactions with the environment.

Level two

Coordinator: Dr Ross Thompson

Students planning to complete a major sequence must complete BIO2011 and BIO2040 before proceeding to level three ecology and conservation biology. There is also the option to include BIO2022 in the major, which provides an understanding of the ecological and evolutionary processes which have generated biodiversity through time. Alternatively, completion of the level two zoology units can comprise a minor in the ecology and conservation biology area of study. Level two ecology and conservation biology builds upon first year to examine patterns of biodiversity and the processes that underpin that biodiversity, in addition to ecosystem processes that occur in natural food webs. A strong emphasis is placed on developing the core understanding of plant and animal taxa that make up biodiversity, and the ecological generalities that underpin their occurrence and interactions. Conservation biology emphasises the application of ecological principles and modern genetic approaches to manage species of conservation influence, drawing heavily on examples from Australia and overseas. The teaching in the units available at level two is a combination of lectures and practical activities, including field exercises and laboratory sessions examining live animals and prepared specimens of different kinds. Skills in taxonomic identification are also gained through hands-on practical activities.

Level three

Coordinator: Dr Ross Thompson

The final year of the ecology and conservation biology area of study builds upon the knowledge gained in earlier levels. BIO3011 emphasises the practical skills needed to effectively study ecological systems, and is complemented by practical examples in BIO3111. Both core units draw heavily on real examples from conservation and emphasise how the ecological principles taught in second year can be applied to addressing issues of conservation concern. These units combine lecture, practical and project work with time spent in the field directly assessing patterns of biodiversity and ecosystem function. Both units are required for completion of the ecology and conservation biology major, along with one or two from a variety of other units offered by the school. These units provide an opportunity for students to pursue particular sub-disciplines including evolutionary and ecological genetics (GEN3062), plant physiology and ecology (BIO3082 Plant responses to the environment and/or BIO3091 Ecology of Australian vegetation), freshwater ecology (BIO3122), marine biology (BIO3021), tropical terrestrial ecology (BIO3820) and animal behaviour (BIO3052).

Honours

In addition to the requirements listed above, students must meet the entry requirements for the Science honours program relevant to their course of enrolment. See the entries for:

  • 2340 Bachelor of Environmental Science
  • 3520 Bachelor of Science Advanced with Honours
  • 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science
  • 2188 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science (Science Scholar Program)

Full details regarding the course structure for honours in this area of study are outlined in course 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science.

Relevant courses

Single degrees

  • 2340 Bachelor of Environmental Science
  • 0050 Bachelor of Science
  • 3520 Bachelor of Science Advanced with Honours
  • 1120 Bachelor of Science (Science Scholar Program)

Double degrees

  • 0530 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science
  • 3537 Bachelor of Arts (Global) and Bachelor of Science
  • 3528 Bachelor of Biomedical Science and Bachelor of Science
  • 1469 Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Science
  • 3517 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Computer Science
  • 3711 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education
  • 1633 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education
  • 3278 Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering and Bachelor of Science
  • 4609 Bachelor of Environmental Engineering and Bachelor of Science
  • 3282 Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering and Bachelor of Science
  • 0085 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Engineering
  • 0086 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Laws

Honours degrees

  • 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science
  • 2188 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science (Science Scholar Program)