ENVT5576 Aquatic Ecology

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Aquatic environments such as lakes, rivers, estuaries and coasts, supply a diversity of ecosystem services that support humanity. They have also been subject to exploitation and degradation at a global scale in response to development pressures. Critical to planning for the sustainable use and management of aquatic environments is an understanding of the physical, chemical and biological processes that govern ecosystem interactions and their ability to support biodiversity. This unit provides students with an understanding of how inland and marine ecosystems function, and develops practical skills associated with field, laboratory and modelling based investigations. Case studies of diverse aquatic system types are explored, and associated issues including contamination, Harmful Algal Blooms, habitat loss and biodiversity loss are explored. Management approaches and technologies to restore and sustainably develop aquatic environments are also covered, including approaches to environmental water delivery, nutrient management and ecosystem restoration.
Students are able to (1) analyse how food webs are structured in different aquatic environments, including pelagic vs benthic dominated systems, and their interactions; (2) describe the environmental and biological controls on primary and secondary productivity, and organic matter cycling; (3) outline how the different threats to aquatic systems drive water quality decline and habitat loss, and explain how these manifest in terms of biodiversity outcomes; (4) evaluate scientifically-based remediation strategies for aquatic environments, with consideration of the environmental and economic implications that will determine successful implementation; and (5) outline examples of successful policies and governance approaches that can support aquatic system sustainability.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) quizzes; (2) experimental report; and (3) modelling report. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Paul Close
Unit rules
enrolment in the Master of Environmental Science (72530)
enrolment in the Master of Biological Science (72520)
Contact hours
1x2hr lecture
1x3hr laboratory/practical
plus a field trip
  • 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.