Ecology: Communities and Ecosystems

Subject 606-204 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Twenty-four lectures (two per week), 27 hours of practical work plus an excursion
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours
Prerequisites: Biology 650-141 and 650-142 (prior to 2004: 600-141 and 600-142); or geography 121-012 and 121-013.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s programs. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their active and safe participation in a subject are encouraged to discuss this with the relevant subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Dr P Vesk; Prof N Enright
Subject Overview:

The subject provides an introduction to ecological questions that can be addressed at the levels of communities and ecosystems. Topics include:

  • measurement of ecological systems at the level of food web, community, ecosystem and landscape;

  • trophic interactions and resource partitioning;

  • disturbance and ecological succession;

  • nutrient cycling and energetics;

  • palaeoecology; and

  • management of human activities.

By successfully completing this subject, students should gain:

  • understanding of the concept of ecological communities, ecosystems and landscapes;

  • knowledge of field sampling and techniques;

  • appreciation of the roles of natural and human disturbances in ecological systems;

  • understanding of the approaches to management at these ecological scales;

  • an appreciation of the role and usefulness of models, including mathematical models in ecology;

  • an understanding of the ways in which ecological research is carried out; and

  • an ability to synthesise, interpret and discuss current scientific literature.

Assessment: Up to 15 pages of practical and excursion reports due during the semester (20%); continuous assessment of practical exercises and laboratory problems during the semester (20%); a 2-hour written examination in the examination period (60%).
Prescribed Texts: Ecology: From Individuals to Ecosystems (M Begon, et al), 4th edn, Blackwell 2006
Breadth Options: This subject is a level 2 or level 3 subject and is not available to new generation degree students as a breadth option in 2008.
This subject or an equivalent will be available as breadth in the future.
Breadth subjects are currently being developed and these existing subject details can be used as guide to the type of options that might be available.
2009 subjects to be offered as breadth will be finalised before re-enrolment for 2009 starts in early October.
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Notes: Students enrolled in the BSc (pre-2008 BSc), BASc or a combined BSc course will receive science credit for the completion of this subject.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Forest Science/Bachelor of Science
Diploma in Arts (Environmental Studies)

Download PDF version.