ALPINE ECOLOGY

WEM2ALP

2015

Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This is a field trip based subject conducted in February for seven days in total to be based at Falls Creek, Victoria. The field work will explore alpine and sub-alpine ecosystems in detail during daytime excursions, team based research work, and through evening discussions and lectures. Pre- trip materials including background reading will be provided online. Your knowledge of the concepts and details will be assessed before the residency at Falls Creek. Post field trip commitments will involve completion of a report based on the project work you have conducted. Aspects of alpine geology, hydrology, soils, and aquatic and terrestrial plant and animal communities will be considered in detail. Potential and real threats to alpine ecosystems will be addressed. This subject is an introduction to field research and will be suitable for aspiring park rangers, ecologists and anyone interested in a career working in science and the environment.

SchoolSchool of Life Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorEwen Silvester

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 2 - UG

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules

PrerequisitesN/A

Co-requisitesN/A

Incompatible subjects WEM3ALP, WEM2TAE

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Identify legal, cultural, biological and other considerations that constrain research activity in an environment and undertake appropriate steps to safeguard the environment.

Activities:
Guest speakers, online and other resources will inform students of various aspects of significance relating to national parks and other high conservation value environments. Students will complete an application for permission to undertake research in a designated National Park, from several examples.
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Inquiry/ Research (Inquiry/ Research)
Ethical Awareness (Ethical Awareness)

02. Distinguish elements of effective teamwork and group formation and apply these principles to perform collaboratively in a team to collect and analyse field data then critically evaluate their own and whole group behaviour.

Activities:
Complete online exercises pre-trip relating to theory of group and team work including self analysis and introduction of self to group. Facilitated group work exercises will be conducted in the early part of the trip to assist in group formation and to demonstrate aspects of group theory. Work as a member of a small team during field work projects and participate in group assessment activities. Complete a personal reflection of the team work project at three points during the field trip - completed reflection to be submitted
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Creative Problem-solving (Creative Problem-solving)
Teamwork (Teamwork)
Critical Thinking (Critical Thinking)
Inquiry/ Research (Inquiry/ Research)

03. Write a scientific report related to a field based project in accordance with professional and ethical standards.

Activities:
Write a project scientific report according to established standards and guidelines. Students will be instructed in the elements of a writing rubric which will be used for marking. Complete Academic integrity module online. Statistical methods support and advice will be provided during the writing up and analysis phase.
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Writing (Writing)
Ethical Awareness (Ethical Awareness)
Discipline-specific GCs (Discipline-specific GCs)
Inquiry/ Research (Inquiry/ Research)

04. Identify techniques appropriate to particular tasks for six different fieldwork methods then employ and evaluate at least one method.

Activities:
A variety of field techniques will be demonstrated in the field and/or described in the online material. The usefulness and limitations of all of these techniques will be reviewed in practice and through online visual and written resources. Students will employ at least one field technique during fieldwork.
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Critical Thinking (Critical Thinking)
Creative Problem-solving (Creative Problem-solving)

05. Evaluate risk and means of risk minimisation to demonstrate safe behaviour in the environment during fieldwork.

Activities:
Guest speakers (park rangers) discuss risk elements. Students participate in team building quiz based on real life scenarios and experiences of risk. Debrief includes team and group working aspects as well as risk management issues.
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Critical Thinking (Critical Thinking)
Creative Problem-solving (Creative Problem-solving)

06. Demonstrate knowledge of the extent of alpine environments in Australia and identify abiotic and biotic characteristics of these habitats.

Activities:
As well as completing their pre-trip quiz and research projects, students will gather a wide variety of information and artifacts (eg photos, specimen material under permit) during the field trip and submit a group report for use as an ongoing field trip resource.
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Discipline-specific GCs (Discipline-specific GCs)

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Albury-Wodonga, 2015, Week 04-12, Day

Overview

Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment size20

Enrolment information Accommodation, catering, safety and logistical reasons connected with the fieldwork. All nominating 2nd year EME students (~20) with remaining places available to Bundoora and AW year 3 FSTE students enrolling as WEM3APL and external (including overseas) students.

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorDennis Black

Class requirements

Field Trip Week: 04 - 12
One 8.0 days field trip per study period on weekdays during the day from week 04 to week 12 and delivered via face-to-face.
"The subject is based at the alpine resort of Falls Creek, Victoria, approximately 130 km from the A-W campus. It will be conducted onsite at Falls Creek from February 15 -22, but online components for preparation and assessment will be conducted from early January until mid-March."

Assessments

Assessment elementComments% ILO*
Field work report (2000 words due four weeks after field trip)Hurdle requirement50 01, 03, 04, 05, 06
Group resources habitat report, 500 words with supporting illustrations due at the end of fieldwork.10 02, 06
Post-field multiple choice/short answer test10 04, 06
Pre-field multiple choice quiz20 01, 05, 06
Team work reflections by completing a rubric at three stages during fieldwork.10 02