env3fre freshwater ecosystems




Credit points: 15

Subject outline

Aquatic Ecosystems Field Course is based around a seven-day camp (5 full days) centred on the Ovens River in North East Victoria. The field trip will specifically address field techniques used to study aquatic and riparian (stream side) communities, through team-based research combined with evening discussions and presentations. Pre-trip commitments will involve the successful completion of on-line background modules to assist in your understanding of the field project objectives. The field project will focus on the areas of:geomorphology-hydrology, water quality, macroinvertebrate communities, fish and vegetation, the results of which will form the basis of a post-field trip report and a major assessment task. The subject will also cover aspects of river management, in particular the role of flow regime in achieving ecological outcomes. This subject is an introduction to field research and will be suitable for aspiring park rangers, field 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 3 - UG

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules



Incompatible subjectsN/A

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditions Students MUST check details of dates & costs of field trips with the department. This field course incurs additional costs. The field trip start point is from Wodonga campus and students are expected to make their own way there, or travel independently to Harrietville directly - both of these options are at the student's own cost.

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

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

Guest speakers, online and other resources will inform students of various aspects of significance relating to freshwater ecosystems and river management. Students will complete an application for permission to undertake research in a designated waterway.

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.

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

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

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.

04. Demonstrate knowledge of aquatic ecosystems in Australia and identify abiotic and biotic characteristics of these habitats

As well as completing their pre-trip quiz and research projects, students will gather a wide variety of information and specimens during the field trip and create a 'voucher collection' as a communal field trip resource.

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne, 2019, Week 35-47, Blended


Online enrolmentNo

Maximum enrolment size41

Enrolment information Accommodation limitations Merit based quotas students selected from provisionally enrolled list, based on second year results

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorEwen Silvester

Class requirements

Field TripWeek: 39 - 40
One 7.0 days field trip per study period on any day including weekend during the day from week 39 to week 40 and delivered via face-to-face.
"The subject is based around the Ovens River, North East Victoria. It will be conducted during the mid-semester break of second semester."

Unscheduled Online ClassWeek: 35 - 39
One 15.0 hours unscheduled online class per study period on any day including weekend during the day from week 35 to week 39 and delivered via online.
"Online components will be conducted from early in semester 2 until the week before the field trip."


Assessment elementComments%ILO*
Field work report (2,000-words)Hurdle Requirement: Students must achieve a minimum of 50% in order to pass the subject. Due four weeks after field trip4001, 03, 04
Pre-field multiple choice quiz (1,000-words equivalent)Tests student understanding of three modules: (i) freshwater ecosystems, (ii) field techniques, and (iii) research design and analysis.3001, 02, 04
Annotated bibliography (500-words)Each group is requested to review up to 10 journal articles (dependent upon number of members in each group) and create an annotated bibliography foe each article. The entire document is no more than 500 words (50 words for each article).1001, 04
Teamwork exercises (200-words equivalent)Combination of on-line and on-trip tasks that prepare students for working in team environments and assess their ability to take on different roles in teams. Assessment is via submission to on-line discussion forums (5%) and peer evaluation (5%).1002
Oral presentation (200-words equivalent)Oral presentations are delivered in groups on the penultimate day of the field trip.1002, 04