Landscapes and Diversity

Subject GEOG20009 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2 x 1hr lectures and 1 x 2hr practical plus up to 5 days fieldwork.
Total Time Commitment:

Estimated 6 hrs per week for 12 weeks


Completion at least 25 points of first- and/or second-year subjects from one or more of the following study areas or equivalent subjects with the approval of the co-ordinator: Agriculture, Australian Indigenous Studies, Atmosphere and Ocean Sciences, Biology, Botany, Ecology, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Studies, Environments, Earth Sciences, Forest Science, Geography, Natural Resource Management, Science, Zoology

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Objectives, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit:


Melbourne School of Land & Environment Student Centre
Ground Floor, Melbourne School of Land & Environment (building 142)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

This subject focuses on the relationship between landforms and the diversity of plants and animals they host. It investigates the way in which certain landscapes support particular types of ecosystems and the roles played by climate, time and earth surface processes in maintaining and forcing change in those ecosystems. The key systems covered include river, wetland, groundwater, karst, desert and alpine. The subject also considers human impacts and climate change and how these may determine biodiversity and geomorphological trajectories of these systems. Field work (of up to 5 days through the semester) will be a key learning mode. Through lectures, practicals and field exercises, skills will be developed in a range of analytical techniques used to investigate relevant environmental processes and changes.


Students will develop an understanding of how key ecosystems function in the landscape. Through lectures, practicals and field exercises students will gain knowledge and develop skills in the following:

• how ecosystems are controlled by processes operating over catchment and regional scales;

• how ecosystems are important for the maintenance of biodiversity and the quality of human life;

• how changes due climate change or human impacts affect the timing and scale of environmental processes.


Weekly practical classes, 35%, an individual 1,500-word field report, 30% (due in the second half of the semester) and a 2-hour examination 35% (in the examination period). Students must submit written field report within deadlines, submit 80% of the laboratory work within deadlines and attend field work to be eligible to pass the subject.

Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Be able to:

  • understand the broad-scale relationships between landforms and ecosystem diversity;
  • Understand the influence of human impacts, time and climate on these relationships;
  • critically evaluate the published literature concerning river, lake, groundwater, cave, desert, alpine and wetland systems;
  • write clear and concise reports and reviews;
  • understand important methods of environmental analysis;
  • conduct library-based research
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Environmental Geographies, Politics and Cultures major
Integrated Geography
Physical Geography
Science credit subjects* for pre-2008 BSc, BASc and combined degree science courses
Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG. Core selective subjects for B-BMED.

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