ENVT2250 Ecology

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 1AlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Conservation Biology; Zoology; Botany major sequences
  • Level 2 core unit in the Biology specialisation in the Environmental Science major sequence
  • Level 2 complementary unit in the Marine Biology specialisation in the Marine Science major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Life and Health Sciences
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 2 elective
The objective of this unit is to provide a foundation in ecological science that allows students to understand the biological and environmental drivers of where species occur and how species interact with each other to form functional ecosystems. It covers basic principles in ecology including community and population structure and dynamics; biogeography; productivity and trophic relationships; and nutrient and water cycling processes. The unit also develops an evolutionary and biogeographical framework to understand biodiversity and rarity of plants and animals in terrestrial and marine environments. It emphasises timescales and spatial scales and their importance to processes of evolution and environmental change in Australia. Human impacts on species and ecosystems are a recurring theme. Guest lecturers who are practising ecologists provide specialist knowledge, case studies and hot topics in ecology. Ecological methods, taught during laboratory sessions and a field trip, focus on ecological sampling techniques and experimental approaches to ecology. There is an emphasis on the scientific method, in particular the development and testing of hypotheses, and scientific reporting, both in writing and verbally.
Students are able to (1) understand the fundamental principles that underpin species distribution and abundance; (2) appreciate timescales and their importance to processes of evolution, environmental change and community dynamics in Australia; (3) understand key processes that sustain ecosystem functions such as cycling of matter and energy, regeneration; (4) appreciate ecological principles as a basis for assessment of future land management and conservation priorities and options; and (5) increase generic skills in scientific writing, scientific oral presentation, the scientific method and dataset processing.
Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) final examination; (2) written assignments; and (3) presentation/debate. Further information is available in the unit outline.

To pass this unit, a student must: (a) achieve an overall mark of 50 per cent or higher for the unit; and (b) achieve the requisite requirements(s) or a mark of 50 per cent or greater, whichever is higher and specified in the unit outline, for the final examination component.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Erik Veneklaas and Professor Raphael Didham
Unit rules
BIOL1130 Frontiers in Biology (formerly BIOL1130 Core Concepts in Biology)
BIOL1131 Plant and Animal Biology; for pre-2012 courses: BIOL1130 Core Concepts in Biology
BIOL1131 Plant and Animal Biology
EART1105 Earth and Environment: Dynamic Planet
EART1108 Earth and Environment: Geographical Perspectives
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week;Practicals: 11 x 3 hours, including experimental labs, discussions, presentations, field work.
Unit Outline
Attendance and satisfactory participation in practical and field work components are compulsory.

Krebs, C. J. Ecology: the Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Abundance, 6th edn: Benjamin Cummings 2009, P.M. and Wilson, B.W., eds Ecology. An Australian Perspective, 2nd ed.: OUP 2006

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.