GEOG 2140 - Environmental Change

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2014

This course will introduce students to the global environmental fluctuations of the last two million years as context to recent human-induced change. Our focus is on the interactions between the geological, biological and hydrological processes that have given rise to the landscapes and ecosystems seen today. We then explore the affects of accelerating human impact on the environment and consider extent that the long-term record is useful in understanding recent change and predicting future environmental change. Topics include natural cycles of climate change, sea-level fluctuations, the environmental impact of indigenous peoples, shifts in the water cycle and the waxing and waning of vegetation communities. The past and future impacts of greenhouse warming, pollution, deforestation, river regulation and abstraction and other recent perturbations are then examined in relation to natural rates and magnitudes of change. The subject matter for this course is distinct from that in "Climate Change". Environmental Change is unlikely to be offered in 2015.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code GEOG 2140
    Course Environmental Change
    Coordinating Unit Geography, Environment and Population
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week, plus a one-day field trip
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of undergraduate study
    Incompatible GEST 2040, GEST 2018 or GEST 3018
    Course Description This course will introduce students to the global environmental fluctuations of the last two million years as context to recent human-induced change. Our focus is on the interactions between the geological, biological and hydrological processes that have given rise to the landscapes and ecosystems seen today. We then explore the affects of accelerating human impact on the environment and consider extent that the long-term record is useful in understanding recent change and predicting future environmental change. Topics include natural cycles of climate change, sea-level fluctuations, the environmental impact of indigenous peoples, shifts in the water cycle and the waxing and waning of vegetation communities. The past and future impacts of greenhouse warming, pollution, deforestation, river regulation and abstraction and other recent perturbations are then examined in relation to natural rates and magnitudes of change. The subject matter for this course is distinct from that in "Climate Change". Environmental Change is unlikely to be offered in 2015.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor John Tibby

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 An understanding of natural
    and human induced environmental change at local to global scales
    2 An understanding of
    the techniques used to infer past environments
    3 Interdisciplinary
    problem-solving skills
    4 High quality written
    and verbal communication skills
    5 Ability to undertake
    data manipulation and interpretation
    6 Ability
    to work effectively in a team environment
    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)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1, 2
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 4, 5, 6
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 3, 4, 5, 6,
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 6
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 2, 3, 6
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 6
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 6
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1, 6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    None
    Recommended Resources
    Overview

    There is a wealth of published material relevant to the course. For example, there
    are over 15,000 individual publications in the Scopus database on environmental
    change. Despite this wealth of information, there is no single text book
    that adequately summarises the key components of the course. Hence, a key
    challenge is to focus on that which is most relevant and up to date (which, for
    the most part, appears in journals before it does in books).
     

    The use of the Scopus database to locate relevant academic publications is highly recommended.  Note that you can access Scopus from the
    Quicklinks on the Library’s website: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/library/

     

    Key journals

    The Holocene,
    Quaternary Science Reviews, Journal of Paleolimnology, Quaternary Research,
    Journal of Quaternary Science, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology,
    Palaeoecology

     

    Books and monographs

    The following books and monographs provide useful background to different
    parts of the course.
     
    Williams, M.A.J., Dunkerley, D.L., Kershaw,
    A.P. & Chappell, J. (1998) Quaternary environments, Arnold, New
    York.     Barr Smith: 551.79 W725q.2

    Although this text is a little out of date, it is comprehensive and has a good coverage of the Southern Hemisphere.  More complex than Anderson et al. (2007)


    Alverson, K.D., Bradley, R.S. and Pedersen, T.F. (2003). Paleoclimate,
    Global Change and the Future. Springer.

    This brilliant book is available to download at:

    http://www.pages-igbp.org/products/books/paleoBook.html

     

    Anderson, D.E., Goudie, A.S. & Parker, A.G. (2007) Global environments through the Quaternary: exploring environmental change, Oxford, New York.

    Approachable text, but generally poor coverage of Australia. Barr Smith: 551.79
    A5461g

     

    Smol, J. (2008). Pollution of lakes and rivers: a palaeoenvironmental perspective. 
    Blackwell, Malden, MA.

    Available online via the Library
    (use a Summon search)

     

    Roberts, N. (1998). 
    The Holocene: An Environmental History. Blackwell, Oxford.

    Approachable text, less scientific, with a focus on human evolution and history. 
    Coverage of Australia is almost non-existent.

          



    Online Learning
    1.       Lecture summaries.  I will attempt to post these by the morning of your lecture.

    2.       Lecture records (in a downloadable “You Tube” style)

    3.       Essay questions and suggested reference sources.

    4.       The Geographical and Environmental Studies essay writing guide.

    5.       Information on the use of turnitin

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    There are a number of teaching and learning modes in this course. The course lectures provide basic factual information and concepts about environmental change. 
    The workshops provide hands on experience in the techniques used to infer part environmental change.  The essay provides an opportunity to undertake in depth analysis of a key aspect of the course. The field trip and report will provide students with an opportunity to apply their understanding of environmental change to a key natural resource management problem. Finally, the exam will assess the extent to which students have developed their understanding through the course
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.



    The information below is provided as a
    guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course
    requirements.

    ·        
    Structured
    learning (lectures and workshops): 3 hours per week

    ·        
    Background
    reading and reading for specific workshops: 4 hours per week

    ·        
    Essay
    and field report research and preparation: 3 hours per week (average)

    ·        
    Exam
    revision: 2 hours per week (average)

    Learning Activities Summary
    A summary of the learning activities will be made available in semester 2
    Specific Course Requirements
    A one day field trip is compulsory for Environmental Change
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Small Group Discovery is at the heart of much of the learning in Environmental Change.  In particular, for the field trip and report, students will undertake an environmental reconstruction similar to that discussed in the literature,
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Task (and assessment type) % of total grade
    Short essay 20
    Field report (summative)

    40
    Exam (summative) 40

    Task (and assessment type)

    Learning objective(s) addressed (from 2.1 above)

    Due date

    % of total grade

    Short essay

    2.1 a-d.

    Monday 27th August by midday

    20%

    Field report

    (summative)

     

    2.1 a-d.

    Thursday 25th October by midday

     

    40%

     

    Exam (summative)

    2.1 a-d. NB: direct data interpretation is not required in the exam.

    In Semester 2 exam period

    40%

    Assessment Related Requirements
    The is a compulsory one day field trip
    Assessment Detail


    Essay: Your
    essay should be between 1300-1500 words (including in text references) and
    follow the guidelines set out in the essay writing guide on MyUni.  See questions below.

    Field report: The field
    report should be between 3000-3500 words (including in text references). The
    assignment will be distributed in week 2

    Exam:  The exam will have 2 hours writing time.
    Example exam questions will be posted on MyUni after mid-semester break. The
    exam will be discussed in the final week
    Submission
    Students are required to submit their essay and field report via turnitin, which will be accessed via MyUni, an internet-based service that allows for checking of information sources and plagiarism.
    Course Grading

    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.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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