ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS

SCI2ECO

2018

Credit points: 15

This subject addresses La Trobe's Sustainability Thinking Essential. Sustainability Thinking entails deep appreciation of how the choices we make affects the natural, economic, social, political and cultural systems — now and in the future.

Subject outline

This subject will develop and expand student knowledge and skills in a number of ecological processes that are considered essential to an understanding of agricultural science, its practical application and its relationship to the surrounding environment. Students will explore ecosystems and how certain processes link the living, or biotic, components to the non-living, or abiotic, components. A healthy ecological system is a key indicator of a sustainable environment. Areas explored includes: soil origin, formation, description, classification, chemistry, carbon and organic matter; the physicochemical characteristics of water and their biological applications and implications; the underlying principles and concepts of aquatic science; aquatic ecosystems such as lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams and coastal habitats; nutrient cycles in ecosystem health, energy flows and food chains. This subject addresses La Trobe's Sustainability Thinking Essential. Sustainability Thinking entails deep appreciation of how the choices we make affect the natural, economic, social, political and cultural systems - now and in the future.

SchoolSchool of Life Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorPenelope Smith

Available to Study Abroad StudentsNo

Subject year levelYear Level 2 - UG

Exchange StudentsNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites Admission into SBATE

Co-requisitesN/A

Incompatible subjectsN/A

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Readings

Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsAnalytical measurements in aquatic environmentsRecommendedNamiesnik, J & Szefer, P 2010CRC PRESS, NEW YORK, USA.
ReadingsAquatic ecosystems: trends and global prospectsRecommendedPolunin, V 2008CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, NEW YORK, USA.
ReadingsAustralian soil fertility manualRecommendedPrice, G 20063RD EDN, CSIRO PUBLISHING, COLLINGWOOD, VICTORIA.
ReadingsEcology of aquatic systemsRecommendedDobson, M & Frid, C 2009OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, NEW YORK.
ReadingsSoils: their properties and managementRecommendedChapman, P & Murphy, B 20073RD EDITION, OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, UK.
ReadingsStandard methods for the examination of water and wastewater, 21st edn, American Public Health AssociationRecommendedAPHA-AWWA-WEF, 2005AMERICAN WATER WORKS ASSOCIATION & WATER ENVIRONMENT FEDERATION, WASHINGTON, D.C.
ReadingsUnderstanding vineyard soilsRecommendedWhite, R 2009OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, UK.

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Identify ecological concepts, animal and plant interactions, nutrient cycling and ecosystems

Activities:
Lectures and tutorials will be used to explore ecological cycles and interactions within the context of agricultural production systems and human-utilised aquatic ecosystems. Therefore environmental, social and economic themes influence class discussions about current utility and future sustainability of ecological systems.
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Literacies and Communication Skills
Personal and Professional Skills
Personal and Professional Skills
Personal and Professional Skills

02. Identify different ecological environments and the techniques used for sampling and monitoring their health

Activities:
Field excursions will be used to demonstrate examples of relationships and interactions in different terrestrial and aquatic environments. Students will be given group exercises to gain depth in their chosen area of study.
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Literacies and Communication Skills
Personal and Professional Skills
Personal and Professional Skills
Personal and Professional Skills

03. Describe the relationships between soil water interactions and environments monitoring their health

Activities:
Field studies and laboratory exercises will be used to demonstrate soil water relationships. Parameters for measuring soil health will be explored.
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Literacies and Communication Skills
Personal and Professional Skills

04. Research, comprehend and evaluate new information, concepts and evidence regarding ecological systems from a range of sources

Activities:
Field studies, laboratory exercises and written assessments will be used to demonstrate ecological relationships and ecosystem function, in the context of agroecosystems and peri-urban aquatic ecosystems, i.e. ecosystems largely given over to economic production and/or social utility. Therefore there is a strong integration of the environmental, social and economic dimensions of long-term sustainability in the practical activities and assessment tasks.
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Personal and Professional Skills
Personal and Professional Skills
Discipline -Specific Knowledge and Skills

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Epping, 2018, Semester 2, Blended

Overview

Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorPenelope Smith

Class requirements

Lecture Week: 31 - 37
One 2.0 hours lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 37 and delivered via face-to-face.

Tutorial Week: 31 - 37
One 1.0 hours tutorial per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 37 and delivered via face-to-face.

Practical Week: 31 - 37
One 2.0 hours practical per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 37 and delivered via face-to-face.

Lecture Week: 38 - 43
One 2.0 hours lecture per week on weekdays at night from week 38 to week 43 and delivered via online.
"Delivered as pre recorded lectures in flipped classroom format "

Tutorial Week: 38 - 43
One 1.0 hours tutorial per week on weekdays at night from week 38 to week 43 and delivered via online.

WorkShop Week: 31 - 43
Two 8.0 hours workshop per study period on weekends during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via face-to-face.
"2 day intensive workshop"

Unscheduled Online Class Week: 31 - 43
Two 1.0 hours unscheduled online class per study period on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via online.
"Students to watch videos of practical competencies"

Assessments

Assessment elementComments% ILO*
1 x 20-minute online Aquatic Ecosystem Quiz (400 words equivalent)Formative assessment.  Short quiz on material from early aquatic ecosystem lectures and flipped classes10 01, 02
1 x 1.5 hour examination2 hour exam on material from aquatic ecosystem lectures and flipped classes 30 01, 02
15-minute Group oral presentation on Excursion/Field Visits (400 word equivalent/student)Group oral presentation (15 minutes) on group field practical exercise 10 01, 02, 03
5 x 10-minute online soil Short Quizzes - (800 words equivalent total)Multiple choice and short answer online quizzes for each of 5 soil ecosystem lectures (4% each)20 01, 02
Soil Practical report (700 words)Written report (700 words) on interpretation of soil ecosystem data 15 01, 02, 03, 04
Soil Assignment (700 words)Written report (700 words) on interpretation of soil ecosystem management 15 01, 02, 04