GEOG 3019 - Biogeography & Biodiversity Conservation

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2016

This course provides an introduction to the spatial patterns of plants and animals in relation to the physical environment and anthropogenic forces. The themes addressed in this course include climatic systems at global and local scales, soils, ecosystems, environmental gradients and feedbacks, species adaptations to environments and the structure and dynamics of selected biogeographic regions. The impacts that humans are having on global biogeography in modern times will also be examined. Overlying themes will be the conservation of biodiversity at global, regional and local scales and the growing importance of anthropogenic processes for biodiversity conservation. The material presented in lectures will be supported by weekly workshop exercises. The field trip involves a survey of vegetation-environment relations in a context local to the Adelaide-Mt Lofty Ranges, which will inform a report writing exercise.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code GEOG 3019
    Course Biogeography & Biodiversity Conservation
    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 + 1 day field trip
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 6 units of level 2 undergraduate study
    Incompatible GEOG 2137
    Course Description This course provides an introduction to the spatial patterns of plants and animals in relation to the physical environment and anthropogenic forces. The themes addressed in this course include climatic systems at global and local scales, soils, ecosystems, environmental gradients and feedbacks, species adaptations to environments and the structure and dynamics of selected biogeographic regions. The impacts that humans are having on global biogeography in modern times will also be examined.

    Overlying themes will be the conservation of biodiversity at global, regional and local scales and the growing importance of anthropogenic processes for biodiversity conservation. The material presented in lectures will be supported by weekly workshop exercises. The field trip involves a survey of vegetation-environment relations in a context local to the Adelaide-Mt Lofty Ranges, which will inform a report writing exercise.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Douglas Bardsley

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to: 
    1. Understanding of biogeography and conservation approaches in Australia and internationally.
    2. Gather and utilise ecological data relevant to Mediterranean vegetation generally and South Australia in particular, to develop understanding of biogeographical patterns.
    3. Translate biogeographical theory and methods into real-world ecological analyses.
    4. Critically assess theoretical and conceptual issues relating to human impacts on biodiversity and biodiversity conservation.
    5. Present synthesised and critically evaluated information in graphical & written forms.
    6. Work effectively to create biogeographical outputs of professional quality, both independently and within team environments.
    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1-4
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    2-5
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    3-6
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1, 3-6
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    2-5
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    2-4, 6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Although there is no prescribed text for this course, if you do not have any background in Physical Geography or Environmental Science, the following book is highly recommended: Strahler A. (2013) Introducing Physical Geography. 6th Edition. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester UK.
    Recommended Resources
    The articles, book chapters and reports will be made available on MyUni (under Content/Readings: Online Content links) and should be used to supplement lecture and workshop activities. Beyond these, numerous references will be provided during lectures and workshops. It is also recommended that students use the library databases such as Scopus, Web of Science or Google Scholar (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/library/) to access academic publications relevant to the weekly topic or your assignments.
    Online Learning

    MyUni Site: This course guide and additional course-related material will be made available through MyUni. These materials include amongst other information:
    - Announcements
    - Powerpoint slides from the lectures and workshops. Every attempt will be made to post the slides on MyUni just prior to the lectures and workshops.
    - Recording of lectures
    - Links to Reading materials
    - One worksop involves a virtual tour of the work of ZoosSA and will introduce students to some key elements of biodiversity conservation as it links to South Australia’s Zoological Gardens.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    There are a number of teaching and learning modes in this course.
    - The course lectures provide factual information and conceptualise approaches to environmental management, initially in relation to the important elements of Biogeography, particularly in relation to vegetation distribution, and secondly on biodiversity conservation theory and practice. 
    - The field trip will involve a one day visit to the Cleland Conservation Park, where students will initially visit Waterfall Gully and take ecological measurements at two sites, and will then visit Mt Lofty and take a final set of ecological measurements at one site. A major report will be developed by students on the field trip.
    - The workshops are designed to prepare students for the field trip and assist them to develop their reports. They will initially provide opportunities to learn key skills in relation to biogeography, which are linked to the first two assignments, and those skills will be built upon during and after the field trip. They will subsequently learn about and discuss the implications for conservation practice in Australia. The workshops will also provide an opportunity for students to raise questions or points of interest during discussions. 
    - Finally, the exam will assess the extent to which students have developed their understanding throughout the course.
    Workload

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

    WORKLOAD Total Hours
    2 x 1-hour lectures per week 24 hours per semester
    1 x 1-hour tutorial per week 12 hours per semester
    Fieldtrip & report research and preparation 6 hours reading per week 72 hours per semester
    2 hours workshop preparation per week 24 hours per semester
    2 hours exam revision per week 24 hours per semester
    Total = 156 hours per semester
    Learning Activities Summary

    Week
    LECTURE TOPIC
    DB=Douglas Bardsley
    JT=John Tibby
    WORKSHOP
    1 1. Introduction: biogeography, biodiversity & the species concept (DB)
    2. Global patterns of biodiversity (DB)
    1. Introducing biogeography (DB)
    2 3. Evolution of life on Earth and extinctions (JT)
    4. Origins of Australia’s vegetation (JT)
    2. On-line In situ & Ex situ Conservation: Take an e-trip to the zoo (DB)
    3 5. Climate and global biogeography (DB)
    6. Regional patterns of biodiversity (DB)
    3. Climatic drivers of biological distribution (DB)
    4 7. Explaining local biodiversity: equilibrium & non-equilibrium models (DB)
    8. Islands and island biogeography (DB)
    4. Critiquing the Theory of Island Biogeography (DB) 
    5 9. Geomorphology and pedology (DB)
    10. Measuring levels of species diversity (DB) 
    5. Researching diversity: data from the field (DB) + Assignment 1: Where do you find it & why is it there?
    6 11. Anthropogenic drivers I (DB)
    12. Anthropogenic drivers II (DB) 
    6. Assignment 2: Calculating levels of species diversity (DB)
    7 13. Biodiversity assessments of aquatic ecosystems (JT)
    14. Threats to aquatic biodiversity (JT)
    7. Analysis of field trip data: environment (JT)
    8 15. Biotic response to (past) environmental change (JT)
    16. Fire and Australian biodiversity (JT)
    8. Analysis of field trip data: plants (JT)
    9 17. The importance of biodiversity: value, loss & conservation (DB)
    18. Biodiversity conservation: emerging paradigms (DB)
    9. Analysis of biological data (DB)
    10 19. Australian conservation (DB)
    20. Indigenous Protected Areas (DB)
    10. Writing up a fieldtrip report (DB) 
    11 21. Conservation in developing countries I (DB)
    22. Conservation in developing countries II (DB)
    11. Conservation planning for the Mt Lofty Ranges (DB)
    12 23. In situ agrobiodiversity conservation (DB)
    24. Summary + discussion on the future of biogeography and conservation (DB)
    12. Conceptualising conservation practice (DB)
    Specific Course Requirements
    One day field trip on a mid-semester Saturday
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    The students are involved in a fieldtrip where they work in small groups to plan their methodology; collect data in the field; calculate diversity indicies; share some information as a group when completing their reports.
  • 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
    Assessment Task Task type Weighting Course Learning Outcomes
    Biogeographical study paper Formative & summative 10% 1-3, 6
    Biogeographical calculations and paper Formative & summative 10% 1-6
    Fieldtrip report Summative 40% 1-6
    Exam Summative 40% 1-6
    Assessment Related Requirements
    There is a requirement to attend the mid-semester fieldtrip.
    Assessment Detail
    Assignment 1: Where do you find it & why is it there? 
    Length: ~500 words
    Value: 10% of final mark
    Students will be provided with a list of species previously found by students in Cleland Conservation Park. Students will research the biogeography of that one species and provide a brief summary for assessment in preparation for the fieldtrip.

    Assignment 2: Calculating levels of Species Diversity
    Length: ~500 words
    Value: 10% of final mark
    Students will determine the patterns of alpha and beta diversity along a topographic gradient by developing and comparing values of biodiversity indices using hypothetical data from wet-sclerophyllous forest in Kinglake N.P., Victoria. Presentation will be in a report style with aim, methods, results, discussion, conclusion & references.

    Assignment 3: Fieldtrip report: Measuring diversity along an environmental gradient in the Mt Lofty Ranges
    Length: ~2500 words
    Value: 40% of final mark
    Students will need to attend a compulsory field trip to Cleland Conservation Park.
    The fieldtrip report will be developed from group fieldwork data obtained during fieldtrip to Cleland Conservation Park. The report will focus on a study of the biodiversity along an environmental gradient. Biodiversity indices will be calculated for the data and discussed in relation to biotic, topographic, climatic and edaphic factors. A brief literature review will be included on Mediterranean climatic ecosystems and Mt Lofty ranges vegetation, including an analysis of the important adaptations of vegetation found in these ecosystems. A fieldtrip guide will be provided later in the semester to assist you with your report write-up.

    Exam: Final exam on the lecture & workshop materials during Semester 2 Exam period (40% of your final mark)
    Submission
    All assignments will need to be submitted electronically via the ICC site. The links for submission of assignments using the ICC site have been created for you under the Assignment page in the MyUni site for the subject. You can upload your assignments directly by following the prompts. You will need to upload an A4 pdf version of your assignment to the ICC site (for assistance in converting your assignment file to PDF, please see: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/myuni/tutorials/content/ICC_Printed_Assignment_PDF_creation.html). 

    For Assignment 3 you will need to upload your report onto the ICC AND the Turnitin assessment Sites. Links for both can be found in the Assignment 3 folder under the Assignment page on the MyUni site for the subject. You will need to upload a Word version of your essay to Turnitin and a pdf version to ICC.

    For guidance on how to submit your assignment electronically via MyUni, go to http://www.adelaide.edu.au/myuni/tutorials/ and click on the “Submit an Assignment” tutorial. 

    For more assistance on submitting your assignment file to MyUni, please telephone the Service Desk on 831 33000, 8 am – 6 pm, Monday to Friday or email servicedesk@adelaide.edu.au

    The assignments must be lodged in electronic form by the given due date and time to avoid penalty. A penalty of 5% will be deducted per day for any assignment that is submitted late. 

    Assignments will be printed out and marked in hard copy form and made available to be picked up by students at the end of the semester. If you wish to have the marked, final work sent to you, you MUST supply Dr Bardsley with a stamped, self-addressed envelope when submitting the final piece of work. Only one A3 envelope is necessary.
    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.

    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 CEQ 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 least once every 2 years. 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.

    The course is designed to lead students through the key elements of biogeography and biodiversity, so that they feel comfortable and have the skills to develop a professional report on a local ecological system. The aim is to produce the type of product that you might expect to develop for a government or an NGO who is interested in local biodiversity levels and conservation

    SELTS results from previous years suggest that most students enjoy this challenge. The workshops are designed to guide you through the development of your report by initially developing the skills and understanding of the issues, and then linking them to the vegetation and broader ecosystem of Cleland Conservation Park. A key to getting the most out of the subject is to use the workshops to raise particular issues or concerns with your lecturers and peers.
  • 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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