ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS

SCI2ECO

2020

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 ecological systems that are considered essential to an understanding of agricultural science, including its practical application and its relationship to the surrounding environment. A healthy ecological system is a key indicator of a sustainable environment. Students will explore biotic and abiotic components of ecosystems and the interactive processes between them. Topics include: the physicochemical characteristics of water and their biological applications and implications; the principles and concepts of aquatic science; aquatic ecosystems such as lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams and coastal habitats; energy flows in food chains and nutrient cycles in natural and agro ecosystems; soil origin and  formation; soil physical description; soil chemistry; and soil carbon and organic matter. 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.


SchoolSchool of Life Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorGary Clark

Available to Study Abroad StudentsNo

Subject year levelYear Level 2 - UG

Exchange StudentsNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites Admission into SBATE or requires Subject Coordinator approval

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, including ecosystem components, interactive processes, nutrient cycling and energy flow

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 (Speaking)
Personal and Professional Skills (Teamwork including leadership and working in groups,Ethical behaviour,Adaptability Skills)
Personal and Professional Skills (Teamwork including leadership and working in groups,Ethical behaviour,Adaptability Skills)
Personal and Professional Skills (Teamwork including leadership and working in groups,Ethical behaviour,Adaptability Skills)

02. Identify different ecosystems and develop 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 (Speaking)
Personal and Professional Skills (Teamwork including leadership and working in groups,Ethical behaviour,Adaptability Skills)
Personal and Professional Skills (Teamwork including leadership and working in groups,Ethical behaviour,Adaptability Skills)
Personal and Professional Skills (Teamwork including leadership and working in groups,Ethical behaviour,Adaptability Skills)

03. Describe the relationship between physicochemical parameters of soil and water and environmental health

Activities:
Field studies and laboratory exercises will be used to demonstrate the relationship between physical and chemical water parameters of soil and water, and environmental health
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Literacies and Communication Skills (Speaking)
Personal and Professional Skills (Teamwork including leadership and working in groups,Ethical behaviour,Adaptability Skills)

04. Evaluate and interpret physical, chemical and biological parameters of soil and water, for purposes of sound management of agro-ecological systems.

Activities:
Lectures, tutorials, field studies and laboratory exercises will be used to demonstrate ecological relationships and ecosystem function, in the context of management of agroecosystems and peri-urban aquatic ecosystems. 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 (Teamwork including leadership and working in groups,Ethical behaviour,Adaptability Skills)
Personal and Professional Skills (Teamwork including leadership and working in groups,Ethical behaviour,Adaptability Skills)
Discipline -Specific Knowledge and Skills (Discipline-Specific Knowledge and Skills)

Subject options

Select to view your study options…

Start date between: and    Key dates

Epping, 2020, Semester 2, Blended

Overview

Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorGary Clark

Class requirements

Lecture Week: 31 - 36
One 2.0 hours lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 36 and delivered via face-to-face.

Tutorial Week: 31 - 36
One 1.0 hours tutorial per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 36 and delivered via face-to-face.

Practical Week: 31 - 36
One 2.0 hours practical per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 36 and delivered via face-to-face.

Unscheduled Online Class Week: 37 - 42
One 2.0 hours unscheduled online class per week on weekdays during the day from week 37 to week 42 and delivered via online.
"Students complete online activities (pre- recorded lectures and other materials) prior to the scheduled workshop."

WorkShop Week: 37 - 42
One 2.5 hours workshop per week on weekdays during the day from week 37 to week 42 and delivered via face-to-face.
"Students can choose either the face-to-face or virtual (Online) class option."

WorkShop Week: 37 - 43
Two 2.5 hours workshop per study period on weekends during the day from week 37 to week 43 and delivered via face-to-face.
"2 day intensive workshop"

Assessments

Assessment elementComments% ILO*
1 x 25-minute online Aquatic Ecosystem Quiz (450 words equivalent)Formative assessment.  Short quiz on material from early aquatic ecosystem lectures and flipped classes10 01, 02
80-minute examination (1,350- words equivalent)80-minute exam on material from aquatic ecosystem lectures and flipped classes 30 01, 02
15-minute (5 minutes/member) Group oral presentation on Excursion/Field Visits (450 word equiv/stdGroup oral presentation (15 minutes, 5 minutes/member) on group field practical exercise 10 01, 02, 03, 04
Soil Report (2250 words)This assessment is based on Topics 1 and 8-12. It consists of a written report on measurement of soil ecosystem parameters and their interpretation for sound agro-ecosystem management50 01, 02, 03, 04