ENV BIOL 3121 - Concepts in Ecology III
North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2022
General Course Information
Course Code ENV BIOL 3121 Course Concepts in Ecology III Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences Term Semester 1 Level Undergraduate Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 5 hours per week, plus field trip Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y Assumed Knowledge ENV BIOL 2502 Course Description This course addresses advanced ecological concepts, building upon Ecology II, and providing a common anchor to other Ecology courses in Year III. It deals with populations, communities and ecosystems, and examines various approaches to their studies, including experiments and models. It provides both an understanding of theoretical ecology as well as a foundation for ecological applications.
Details of field trip communicated at start of the course.
Course Coordinator: Professor Justin Brookes
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning OutcomesA successful student should be able to:
1 understand and apply the central ecological concepts; 2 search, find and read essential current literature in ecological journals; 3 analyse complex ecological problems using current conceptual frameworks; 4 critically analyse the literature and identify gaps in knowledge; 5 design studies to fill the current gaps in knowledge in our ecological understanding, working independently and in teams; 6 use of a variety of tools (experiments, field surveys and modelling) to study ecological systems; 7 report results of ecological studies in a clear, precise, and succinct way.
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth
Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.
1, 2, 3
Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving
Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.
3, 4, 5
Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills
Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.
Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness
Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ,7
Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency
Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.
Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.
Required ResourcesNo single textbook covers the content of this course.
Reading lists will be provided by lecturers.
Recommended ResourcesThe basic information is found in the lectures. During lectures sources that cover the corresponding topics will be provided. In addition several advanced ecological textbooks should be consulted as required.
Online LearningMyUni: Teaching materials and course documentation will be posted on the MyUni website (http://myuni.adelaide.edu.au/).
Participation in MyUni groups and Discussion Boards is required.
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesThis course is delivered by the following means:
- Lectures: 2 x 1-hour lectures per week
- Practicals:1 x 3-hour practical per week - selected weeks only
- Field Trip: there is a 3-day field trip in the mid-semester break
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
Learning Activities Summary
Week 1 Lectures
Biotic interaction - plant animals interactions as models
Herbivory: plant perspective
Practical: asking ecological quations
Week 2 Lectures
Herbivory – evolutionary perspective
Herbivory: community effects.
Practical: Developing a Research Proposal I
Week 3 Lectures
Herbivory: Ecosystem effects.
Grazing in arid lands of Australia.
Practical: Developing a Research Proposal II
Week 4 Lectures
Ecological complexity: indirect effects, spatial heterogeneity.
Ecological complexity: temporal effects; time lags and priority effects.
Week 5 Lectures
Species coexistence: mechanisms that maintain diversity I
Species coexistence: mechanisms that maintain diversity II
Week 6 Lectures
Ecology of Biological Invasions I
Ecology of Biological Invasions II
Mid Semester Break Camp Week 7 Lectures
Distributions of species - theoretical foundations
Dynamics of geographic ranges
Week 8 Lectures
Island biogeography: Distribution & dynamics of communities
Island biogeography: a model system.
Practical: Field trip data analyses.
Week 9 Lectures
Frontiers in macroecology
Ecological time machines
Week 10 Lectures
Global change and ecology part 1
Global change and ecology part 2
Week 11 Lectures
The structure of biodiversity
Current rates of extinction
Week 12 Lectures
The Anthropocene and global biotic homogenization 1
The Anthropocene and global biotic homogenization 2
Specific Course Requirements
There is a 3-day field trip in the mid-semester break.
Because of limitations of the facilities available a maximum of 55 students can participate of the camp. Students unable to take part of the field activites will receive alternative assigments to comply with the learning objectives and assessment requirements.
Small Group Discovery ExperienceThe course includes two core activities that provide Small Group Discovery Experience.
The preparation of the research proposal requires that students working in groups of 3-5 read current ecological literature critically to detect gaps in knowledge, and under the direct supervision of the lecturers design a research project that should be implemented to provide the critical information needed.
During the field camp, groups of students 4-6 working under supervision of lecturers develop a single research question, and devise a sampling strategy to collect suitable data to answer the question. Students then analyse the data and report their results individually.
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment Task Task Type Percentage of total assessment for grading purposes Hurdle
Outcomes being assessed/achieved Field trip report Summative/Formative
No 1,2,3,4 Research Proposal Formative 25% No 1,2,4 Exam Summative 50% No 1,2,3,4
Assessment Related RequirementsCompletion of practical assigments is compulsory –this includes attendance, conduct of required practical work.
Assessment DetailThe PRACTICAL COMPONENT has three independents parts:
Research Proposal (15%)
This is a group (n = 3-5) assignment completed under direct guidance of the lecturers, and assessed individually. It requires identifying an area of research, developing research questions and designing studies and experiments to answer the questions posed.
Field Trip Report (25%)
An individual assignment in the format of a research manuscript based on data collected during the field camp in the Mid-Semester break. Alternative assigments are available for students unable to participate of the field trip.
Modelling Computer Practicals (10%)
Assesses the performance of individual students in the last three practicals devoted to the use of computer tools to understand and explore ecological concepts.
Final Exam (50%)
The final exam is 3 hours and questions cover all the sections of the course in proportion to the time devoted to them in lectures. Requires the student to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the topics covered during lectures.
SubmissionExtensions for Assessment Tasks
Extensions of deadlines for assessment tasks may be allowed for reasonable causes. Such situations would include compassionate and medical grounds of the severity that would justify the awarding of a supplementary examination. Evidence for the grounds must be provided when an extension is requested. Students are required to apply for an extension to the Course Coordinator before the assessment task is due. Extensions will not be provided on the grounds of poor prioritising of time. The assessment extension application form can be obtained from: http://www.sciences.adelaide.edu.au/current/
Late submission of assessments
If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
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