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BIOL373 – Aquatic Ecosystems

2017 – S1 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
Grant Hose
Lecturer
Matthew Kosnik
Contact via 9850-7248
E8A330
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
(39cp at 100 level or above) including BIOL227 or ENVS339
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit introduces the diverse nature of aquatic ecosystems, from catchment to coast, their biota, and the physical and chemical factors that have shaped their structure and function. The unit provides a holistic catchment perspective, covering lakes, rivers, estuaries, and temperate marine communities, fish, invertebrates and ecosystem processes, with a focus on Australian systems. Students will come to understand the key ecological components and processes in aquatic systems, and how ecological knowledge can be applied to management issues. The unit will provide students with experience in environmental monitoring and manipulative experiments, including formulating hypotheses, designing experiments, data collection, analyses, and communication of results. A basic knowledge of statistics is assumed. This unit has a strong emphasis on fieldwork, with essential supporting and contextual knowledge provided by laboratory classes and lectures. This unit helps prepare individuals for employment in aquatic sciences and is beneficial for those continuing to postgraduate studies in aquatic ecology and management.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the characteristics and ecological roles of the major biotic groups in aquatic ecosystems
  2. Identify common invertebrates to the family level
  3. Discuss the ecosystem services provided by aquatic ecosystems and their biota
  4. Identify physical, chemical, and biotic factors in oceans, estuaries, rivers, streams, lakes, and aquifers that influence biota and ecosystem functions
  5. Apply various field methods for sampling aquatic biota
  6. Evaluate and address the risks associated with fieldwork in and around water
  7. Prepare and edit scientific reports to a professional standard

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
River Ecology Report 35% Week 8
Report editing and review 5% Week 8
Marine Ecology prac tasks 25% Weeks 9-12
Freshwater Ecology prac tasks 5% Weeks 4 & 5
Mid semester quiz 25% Week 7
Guest Lecture Attendance 5% Weeks 3,6,10,11,12

River Ecology Report

Due: Week 8
Weighting: 35%

Students will complete a scientific report on a field-based survey of aquatic habitats in the Kangaroo River-Shoalhaven Catchment. Biological data will be collected on the field trip. Students will be expected to identify the invertebrates collected and report on the diversity found and process other samples collected as directed in class. The report will follow the standard format for a professional scientific report, i.e., it will have an abstract/summary, introduction, materials and methods, results and discussion sections and appendices. It will be appropriately referenced. Further details of the assignment requirements will be given in class or online


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Describe the characteristics and ecological roles of the major biotic groups in aquatic ecosystems
  • Identify common invertebrates to the family level
  • Discuss the ecosystem services provided by aquatic ecosystems and their biota
  • Identify physical, chemical, and biotic factors in oceans, estuaries, rivers, streams, lakes, and aquifers that influence biota and ecosystem functions
  • Apply various field methods for sampling aquatic biota
  • Evaluate and address the risks associated with fieldwork in and around water
  • Prepare and edit scientific reports to a professional standard

Report editing and review

Due: Week 8
Weighting: 5%

Students will bring to class their scientific report. The reports will be distributed among the class and each student will edit and review the work of another. Submissions will be anonymous. You will receive the feedback and comments made by your classmates who have reviewed your work.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Prepare and edit scientific reports to a professional standard

Marine Ecology prac tasks

Due: Weeks 9-12
Weighting: 25%

Over a series of consecutive weeks students will complete small tasks which together create the key components of a scientific study. Details on each task will be provided in class and be due the following week.  


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Describe the characteristics and ecological roles of the major biotic groups in aquatic ecosystems
  • Identify common invertebrates to the family level
  • Discuss the ecosystem services provided by aquatic ecosystems and their biota
  • Identify physical, chemical, and biotic factors in oceans, estuaries, rivers, streams, lakes, and aquifers that influence biota and ecosystem functions
  • Apply various field methods for sampling aquatic biota
  • Evaluate and address the risks associated with fieldwork in and around water
  • Prepare and edit scientific reports to a professional standard

Freshwater Ecology prac tasks

Due: Weeks 4 & 5
Weighting: 5%

Short written exercises will be completed that relate to activities undertaken in prac classes. Usually these tasks can be completed in class time.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Describe the characteristics and ecological roles of the major biotic groups in aquatic ecosystems
  • Identify physical, chemical, and biotic factors in oceans, estuaries, rivers, streams, lakes, and aquifers that influence biota and ecosystem functions
  • Apply various field methods for sampling aquatic biota

Mid semester quiz

Due: Week 7
Weighting: 25%

A quiz will be held during class time. The quiz will cover all material from prac classes, lectures and online learning activities given prior to the quiz date.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Describe the characteristics and ecological roles of the major biotic groups in aquatic ecosystems
  • Identify physical, chemical, and biotic factors in oceans, estuaries, rivers, streams, lakes, and aquifers that influence biota and ecosystem functions

Guest Lecture Attendance

Due: Weeks 3,6,10,11,12
Weighting: 5%

Attendance at five guest lectures. Marked as pass/fail based on attendance for whole lecture. Guest lectures are those highlighted in bold in the lecture schedule of the unit outline.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Describe the characteristics and ecological roles of the major biotic groups in aquatic ecosystems
  • Discuss the ecosystem services provided by aquatic ecosystems and their biota
  • Identify physical, chemical, and biotic factors in oceans, estuaries, rivers, streams, lakes, and aquifers that influence biota and ecosystem functions

Delivery and Resources

Students are required to attend an off-campus, overnight field trip in week 5. Students are required to cover costs of accommodation and meals for this trip. Transport is provided and students are required to pay a transport levy.

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy (in effect until Dec 4th, 2017): http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html

Special Consideration Policy (in effect from Dec 4th, 2017): https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/special-consideration

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Describe the characteristics and ecological roles of the major biotic groups in aquatic ecosystems
  • Identify common invertebrates to the family level
  • Discuss the ecosystem services provided by aquatic ecosystems and their biota
  • Identify physical, chemical, and biotic factors in oceans, estuaries, rivers, streams, lakes, and aquifers that influence biota and ecosystem functions
  • Apply various field methods for sampling aquatic biota
  • Evaluate and address the risks associated with fieldwork in and around water
  • Prepare and edit scientific reports to a professional standard

Assessment tasks

  • River Ecology Report
  • Report editing and review
  • Marine Ecology prac tasks
  • Freshwater Ecology prac tasks
  • Mid semester quiz
  • Guest Lecture Attendance

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Identify common invertebrates to the family level
  • Apply various field methods for sampling aquatic biota
  • Evaluate and address the risks associated with fieldwork in and around water

Assessment tasks

  • River Ecology Report
  • Marine Ecology prac tasks
  • Freshwater Ecology prac tasks

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Prepare and edit scientific reports to a professional standard

Assessment tasks

  • River Ecology Report
  • Report editing and review
  • Marine Ecology prac tasks

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Apply various field methods for sampling aquatic biota
  • Evaluate and address the risks associated with fieldwork in and around water
  • Prepare and edit scientific reports to a professional standard

Assessment tasks

  • River Ecology Report
  • Report editing and review
  • Marine Ecology prac tasks
  • Freshwater Ecology prac tasks

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Identify common invertebrates to the family level
  • Discuss the ecosystem services provided by aquatic ecosystems and their biota
  • Apply various field methods for sampling aquatic biota
  • Prepare and edit scientific reports to a professional standard

Assessment tasks

  • River Ecology Report
  • Report editing and review
  • Marine Ecology prac tasks
  • Freshwater Ecology prac tasks
  • Guest Lecture Attendance

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Describe the characteristics and ecological roles of the major biotic groups in aquatic ecosystems
  • Discuss the ecosystem services provided by aquatic ecosystems and their biota
  • Identify physical, chemical, and biotic factors in oceans, estuaries, rivers, streams, lakes, and aquifers that influence biota and ecosystem functions

Assessment tasks

  • River Ecology Report
  • Marine Ecology prac tasks
  • Freshwater Ecology prac tasks
  • Mid semester quiz
  • Guest Lecture Attendance

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Describe the characteristics and ecological roles of the major biotic groups in aquatic ecosystems
  • Apply various field methods for sampling aquatic biota

Assessment tasks

  • River Ecology Report
  • Marine Ecology prac tasks
  • Freshwater Ecology prac tasks
  • Mid semester quiz
  • Guest Lecture Attendance

Changes from Previous Offering

This unit has changed considerably from previous offerings.Content of BIOL373 has expanded to include all aquatic ecosystems (including freshwater) and now incooporates content and learning activities previously delivered in BIOL362 Freshwater Ecology.

Changes since First Published

Date Description
04/08/2017 Removal of non-teaching staff