ARID ZONE ECOLOGY

WEM2ARZ

2015

Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This is a largely field trip-based subject with the field trip conducted in early July for nine days in total and based mainly (five days) at Sturt National Park, in north-western N.S.W. At Sturt N.P. students will study arid-zone organisms and ecosystems through daytime excursions, team-based research projects, and through daily discussions and lectures. Pre-trip materials (including background reading on the arid zone environment) will be provided online and student knowledge of this material will be assessed before the field trip. Post-trip requirements will include the submission of a research report on the project conducted at Sturt and assessment of knowledge of the arid zone and field techniques acquired during the field trip. This subject will introduce students to the ecology of the Australian arid zone and reinforce and extend their capacity to undertake ecological research in the field.

SchoolSchool of Life Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorAlexei Rowles

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 2 - UG

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules

PrerequisitesN/A

Co-requisitesN/A

Incompatible subjects WEM3ARZ, 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 amongst several provided.
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 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:
Teamwork (Teamwork)
Inquiry/ Research (Inquiry/ Research)
Critical Thinking (Critical Thinking)
Creative Problem-solving (Creative Problem-solving)

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

Activities:
Write a scientific project report according to established standards and guidelines will be marked according to the rubric. Complete Academic integrity module online. Statistical methods support and advice will be provided during the writing up and analysis phases.
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Discipline-specific GCs (Discipline-specific GCs)
Inquiry/ Research (Inquiry/ Research)
Quantitative Literacy/ Numeracy (Quantitative Literacy/ Numeracy)
Writing (Writing)
Ethical Awareness (Ethical Awareness)

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:
Creative Problem-solving (Creative Problem-solving)
Critical Thinking (Critical Thinking)

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

Activities:
Guest speakers (park rangers) who describe and discuss risks associated with working in the arid zone. Students participate in team building quiz which is 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 arid zone environments in Australia and identify abiotic and biotic characteristics of these habitats.

Activities:
As well as completing their research projects, students will (while in the field) gather a variety of information and artifacts (e.g. photos, specimen material under permit) field trip which will be used to prepare a short group report. This information and these artifacts will be the property of DEME and be available as an ongoing field trip resource for this subject.
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 24-35, Day

Overview

Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment size20

Enrolment information Accommodation, catering, safety and logistical reasons associated with the fieldwork. All nominating 2nd year EME students (~20) with remaining places available to Bundoora and AW year 3 FSTE students enrolling as WEM3ARZ and external (including overseas) students.

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorAlexei Rowles

Class requirements

Lecture Week: 24 - 35
One 1.0 hours lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 24 to week 35 and delivered via face-to-face.

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 quizHurdle requirement20 01, 05, 06
Team work reflections by completing a rubric at three stages during fieldwork.10 02