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ENVS703 – Science in Environmental Management

2017 – S1 Evening

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Convenor
Kerrie Tomkins
Lecturer
Kathryn Lee
Lecturer
Vladimir Strezov
Credit points Credit points
4
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MRes
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
The aim of this unit is to provide understanding of how environmental science influences management and decision making. The unit introduces students to the major chemical, physical and ecological processes that effect and control natural and anthropogenic environmental impacts. In this unit the disciplinary concerns and environmental principles within geoscience, ecology, chemistry and physics of pollution are explored and linkages among these disciplines emphasised from the viewpoint of science.

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. Understand the scientific methodology and its application to analysing and managing environmental problems.
  2. Be able to critically review peer-reviewed scientific literature that deals with environmental science problems.
  3. Develop skills in synthesising information on environmental science research, and presenting it in written, oral and visual forms.
  4. Develop skills in both individual research and working in groups.
  5. Apply scientific knowledge to develop realistic strategies for dealing with complex environmental problems.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Literature review 30% 11 April 2017
Learning Exercises 30% Variable
Research Project 40% 30 May 2017

Literature review

Due: 11 April 2017
Weighting: 30%

You must choose a discipline that is related to your MRes Year 2 project or alternatively, is within one of the disciplines of environmental science (geoscience, environmental chemistry or ecology). You must restrict your review to the role of science in environmental management for that discipline. You may decide to review one specific topic or a range of topics within that discipline.

Scientific papers can be pretty daunting at first but this is the form in which original research first appears. Primary scientific references describe the rationale for the investigation, the approaches, methods and the findings. Secondary references are a step removed from the original work and include review articles. You will be writing a review article, and you must include at least 12 peer reviewed scientific papers that report the results of research in your chosen discipline. Each student should independently decide which specific topic to review.

The topic must be in the category of your MRes project, or one of the environmental disciplines covered in this course (i.e. geoscience, environmental chemistry or ecology). You are also encouraged to look critically at scientific data. In the first lecture you will learn about the nature of science and why scientific experiments can be so difficult to carry out. The experimental design and execution inevitably has many shortcomings and if you come to  appreciate the inherent difficulties you will be better equipped to spot weaknesses in published research and to undertake critical review. In the first Scientific Writing Workshop (Literature reviews) you will learn how to set out your topic and how to present your critical analysis of the literature.

Your review should be no longer than 2000 words, excluding tables, graphs and reference list. Use sub-headings to structure your review. 

Assessment will be according to the guidelines provided at the first lecture.

Extensions will only be granted for exceptional circumstance (which does not include workload or computer problems!) and with prior written permission by the unit convenor. Unapproved late submission will attract a 10% per calendar day penalty.

The final assignment mark will be out of 30, or 30 % of the total unit mark. The marks allocated for the various assessment criteria are as in the table below.

Criterion   Weighting
Description 5
· Clearly articulates aims and scope of review           

· Accurately and succinctly describes objectives and outcomes of review literature

 
Analysis of the literature 15

· Contribution of reviewed literature

 

· Evidence evaluated critically

 

· Strengths and weaknesses clearly identified

 
Presentation and structure 10

· Well-planned review with clear structure, sub-headings and logical argument firmly based on the literature cited

 

· Well written paper formatted for effective communication with correct grammar and spelling and correct use of professional terminology as appropriate

 

· Literature correctly cited and full bibliographic details provided

 
Total 30

This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Be able to critically review peer-reviewed scientific literature that deals with environmental science problems.
  • Develop skills in synthesising information on environmental science research, and presenting it in written, oral and visual forms.
  • Develop skills in both individual research and working in groups.

Learning Exercises

Due: Variable
Weighting: 30%

Exercises will be distributed during the geoscience, environmental chemistry and ecology components of the unit. Participants must complete all three exercises. It is important that exercises are completed promptly following the lectures to reinforce the learning process.

Marks: 10 marks for each exercise; 30 marks total. ie. 30% of the total unit mark.

Due: The due dates for each take home exercise are:

Geoscience: 28 March 2017

Environmental Chemistry: 9 May 2017

Ecology: 23 May 2017

Late exercises: Late penalties - 0.5 marks off for each day of late submission. No exercise will be accepted one week after its due date.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the scientific methodology and its application to analysing and managing environmental problems.
  • Develop skills in synthesising information on environmental science research, and presenting it in written, oral and visual forms.
  • Develop skills in both individual research and working in groups.

Research Project

Due: 30 May 2017
Weighting: 40%

Students will be assigned to groups of about 4 participants to undertake research on a topic related to the science of climate change, its impacts and management strategies. Ideally the topic will be related to your MRes Year 2 project.

Groups will need to meet outside of class time to allocate research tasks, collate material and develop the final presentation.

Marks: This assignment is composed of three parts:

1. Research Abstract, which must be completed by each student individually, worth 10 marks, or 10 % of the total unit mark

2. Oral presentation of research findings. The presentation will be undertaken in groups; worth 20 marks, or 20 % of the total unit mark.

3. Participation in research, which will be assessed individually during the presentations; worth 10 marks, or 10 % of the total unit mark.

 

The abstract, which needs to be completed individually, should include a brief yet informative title describing the research, the authors name, affiliation and be a maximum of 500 words. Hints on how to write a good abstract will be provided in the Scientific Writing Skills Workshop: Abstracts

For the presentation, groups will be allocated 5 minutes per participant in the group + 10 minutes for questions (groups containing 3 participants will have 15 minutes for the presentation, while those with 4 participants will have 20 minutes time for presentations). Groups will give their presentations to the rest of the class. You may use any presentation format you like: lecture, seminar, poster, role-play, video etc. Groups will be allocated a single mark of up to 20% of the total mark for the teamwork presentation, which will be assessed according to criteria below. All members of the group must play an active part in either preparation of the material or its presentation.

Criterion

Weighting

Content

8

· Quality of research

 

· Relevance to assignment objectives

 
Design 4

· Structure

 

· Logic

 

· Effectiveness

 

· Originality

 

Visual aids

4

· Text (clear, brief, focused)

 

· Illustrations (clarity, relevance)

 

· Originality

 

Questions

4

· answered the question that was asked

 

· brief and comprehensive answers

 

· reveal good depth of knowledge

 
Total 20

 

Each group member will receive additional mark of up to 10% of the total mark for individual participation in the preparation, delivery and question-answer parts of the presentation, in accordance with the follow criteria.

Criterion Weighting
Delivery   5
· Timing (balanced, total time effectively used);  
· Manner (natural, purposeful, eye contact);  
· Vocal quality & language (varied, pleasant, appropriate)  
Participation 5
· Participation to the presentation  
· Participation to answering questions  
· Participation to presentation discussion  
· Attendance  
Total 10

This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Develop skills in synthesising information on environmental science research, and presenting it in written, oral and visual forms.
  • Develop skills in both individual research and working in groups.
  • Apply scientific knowledge to develop realistic strategies for dealing with complex environmental problems.

Delivery and Resources

Learning activities

The unit is comprised of 13 weeks of formal classes which will be held on Tuesday evenings in E3B217 from 6-9 pm. The format of the classes varies, and includes lectures from academic staff on geoscience, environmental chemistry and ecology; three writing skills workshops; and 1-2 weeks of student presentations. Each class also features interactive activities as well as class discussion, particularly during the presentations. As a result, it is essential that students attend all classes. This unit is not able to be offered externally. 

In addition to the formal classes, students are also required to spend time doing their own independent reading and research, with most of this time going towards completing the Assessments. As a guide, students should aim to spend approximately 100-120 hours of their own time on the unit over the semester, in addition to the weekly classes.

 

Requirements to Complete this Unit Satisfactorily

Students must submit all assignments, attend the group presentations and gain a final mark of at least 50% to complete this unit satisfactorily.

Students are required to attend at least 80% of the formal classes, and will be asked to sign an attendance sheet. Attendance may be taken into account when assigning final grades for the unit where marks are on the border between one grade and the next.

 

Technologies Used and Required

Students will need to bring a computer to class for the weeks that are identified as Scientific Writing Skills Workshops. In these weeks, we will use basic programs such as Word and Excel. Students will also need to have access to computer to review the literature and complete the assessment tasks. Submissions of the assessment tasks will be arranged through iLearn using Turnitin. Academic search engines (ISI Web of Knowledge and Scopus) and submission of the assessment tasks will be discussed during the first night of the class.

 

Recommended Texts/Materials

There is no single text for this course. References will be provided with the lecture material.

Background reading can be found in the following:

Aplin, G (2002), Australians and their Environment: An Introduction to Environmental Studies, Oxford University Press

Arms K (1994). Environmental Science, Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth, 2nd edition.

Australian State of the Environment Committee (2006). Australia: State of the Environment 2006.

Independent report to the Commonwealth Minister for Environment and Heritage. CSIRO Publishing on behalf of the Department of Environment and Heritage, Canberra.

Beckmann R (1994). Environmental Science, Australian Academy of Science, Canberra.

Enger ED and Smith BF (2006). Environmental Science: a study of interrelationships, McGraw Hill Publish.

Huxham M and Sumner D (2000). Science and Environmental Decision Making, Pearson Education.

Munasinghe M and Swart R (2005). Primer on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, Cambridge University Press.

O'Riordan T (ed) (1995). Environmental science for environmental management, Longman House, Harlow. 

 

Geosciences source books

Brierley G.J. & Fryirs K.F. (2005) Geomorphology and River Management: Applications of the River Styles Framework, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK. GB1203.2.B755/2005

Cooke R.U. & Doornkamp J.C. (1990). Geomorphology and Environmental Management, 2nd edition, Clarendon Press, Oxford. GB406.C64/1990

Jacobson M.C. (2000). Earth System Science: From Biogeochemical Cycles to Global Change. Academic Press, London. QH344.E17/2000 

Marchetti M. & Rivas V. (2001). Geomorphology and Environmental Impact Assessment.

Balkema, Lisse. GB406.G46 Press F. & Siever R. (1998) Understanding Earth. Freeman, New York. QE28.P9/1998

Slaymaker, O. (2000). Geomorphology, Human Activity, and Global Environmental Change. Wiley, Chichester. GE149.G46/2000 

Summerfield, M.A. (1991) Global Geomorphology, Longman Publishers, Singapore. GB401.5.S84

 

Environmental Chemistry source books

Brasseur GP, Orlando JJ and Tyndall GS (1999) Atmospheric Chemistry and Global Change, Oxford University Press.

Bunce NJ (1990). Environmental Chemistry, Wuerz, Winnipeg.

Connell DW (1993). Water Pollution: Causes and Effects in Australia and New Zealand, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 3rd edition.

Harrison RM (1992). Understanding our Environment: An Introduction to Environmental Chemistry and Pollution, Royal Society of Chemistry, London.

Laws EA (1993). Aquatic Pollution: An Introductory Text, Wiley, New York, 2nd edition.

Manahan SE (1991). Environmental Chemistry, Lewis, Chelsea, 4th or 5th edition.

O'Neill P (1998). Environmental Chemistry, Chapman & Hall, London.

Van Loon G.W. and Duffy S.J. (2000) Environmental Chemistry: A Global Perspective, Oxford UP, Oxford.

 

Ecology source books

Begon M, Mortimer M and Thompson DJ (1996). Population Ecology: a Unified Study of Animals and Plants, Blackwell, Oxford, 3rd edition.

Burgman, M. and Lindenmayer, D. (1998): Conservation Biology for the Australian Environment. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Sydney

Krebs CJ (2001). Ecology: the Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Abundance, Harper,

New York, 5th edition. Magurran, A. E. 2004. Measuring Biological Diversity. Blackwell Science, Massachusetts, 1st ed.

Townsend, C. R., Harper, J. and Begon, M. (2000) Essentials of Ecology, Blackwell Science, Massachusetts, 1st ed.

 

Journal Articles

Use of ISI Web of Knowledge or Scopus to search and access scientific literature published in peer-reviewed journals.

 

Unit Schedule

Week

Date*

Topics

Lecturer

Assignment due dates

1

28/2

Introduction to Environmental Science

What is science? Introduction to Scientific Method and Practice

Tomkins

 

2

7/3

Scientific Writing Skills Workshop: Literature Reviews

Tomkins

 

3

14/3

Geoscience basic concepts

Tomkins

 

4

21/3

Geoscience in Environmental Management: some examples

Tomkins

 

5

28/3

Scientific Writing Skills Workshop: Scientific Analysis

Strezov

Exercise 1 – Geoscience

28 March

6

4/4

Environmental chemistry: basic concepts

Strezov

 

7

11/4

Environmental chemistry in Environmental Management: some examples

Strezov

Literature review –

11 April

 

 

MID SEMESTER BREAK

 

 

8

2/5

Environmental technologies for climate change management

Strezov

 

9

9/5

Ecology: basic concepts

Lee

Exercise 2 – Env chem 

9 May

10

16/5

Ecology in Environmental Management: some examples

Lee

 

11

23/5

Scientific Writing Skills Workshop: Abstracts

Lee

Exercise 3 – Ecology

23 May

12

30/5

Group Project Presentations

Lee

Abstract, presentations and participation –

30 May

13

6/6

Group Project Presentations

Lee

Presentations and participation cont.

*Tues 6-9pm, E3B217

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

PG - Discipline Knowledge and Skills

Our postgraduates will be able to demonstrate a significantly enhanced depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content knowledge in their chosen fields.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the scientific methodology and its application to analysing and managing environmental problems.
  • Be able to critically review peer-reviewed scientific literature that deals with environmental science problems.
  • Apply scientific knowledge to develop realistic strategies for dealing with complex environmental problems.

Assessment tasks

  • Literature review
  • Learning Exercises
  • Research Project

PG - Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

Our postgraduates will be capable of utilising and reflecting on prior knowledge and experience, of applying higher level critical thinking skills, and of integrating and synthesising learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments. A characteristic of this form of thinking is the generation of new, professionally oriented knowledge through personal or group-based critique of practice and theory.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the scientific methodology and its application to analysing and managing environmental problems.
  • Be able to critically review peer-reviewed scientific literature that deals with environmental science problems.
  • Develop skills in synthesising information on environmental science research, and presenting it in written, oral and visual forms.
  • Develop skills in both individual research and working in groups.

Assessment tasks

  • Literature review
  • Learning Exercises
  • Research Project

PG - Research and Problem Solving Capability

Our postgraduates will be capable of systematic enquiry; able to use research skills to create new knowledge that can be applied to real world issues, or contribute to a field of study or practice to enhance society. They will be capable of creative questioning, problem finding and problem solving.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Be able to critically review peer-reviewed scientific literature that deals with environmental science problems.
  • Develop skills in synthesising information on environmental science research, and presenting it in written, oral and visual forms.
  • Apply scientific knowledge to develop realistic strategies for dealing with complex environmental problems.

Assessment tasks

  • Literature review
  • Learning Exercises
  • Research Project

PG - Effective Communication

Our postgraduates will be able to communicate effectively and convey their views to different social, cultural, and professional audiences. They will be able to use a variety of technologically supported media to communicate with empathy using a range of written, spoken or visual formats.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Develop skills in synthesising information on environmental science research, and presenting it in written, oral and visual forms.
  • Develop skills in both individual research and working in groups.

Assessment tasks

  • Literature review
  • Research Project

PG - Engaged and Responsible, Active and Ethical Citizens

Our postgraduates will be ethically aware and capable of confident transformative action in relation to their professional responsibilities and the wider community. They will have a sense of connectedness with others and country and have a sense of mutual obligation. They will be able to appreciate the impact of their professional roles for social justice and inclusion related to national and global issues

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Be able to critically review peer-reviewed scientific literature that deals with environmental science problems.
  • Apply scientific knowledge to develop realistic strategies for dealing with complex environmental problems.

Assessment task

  • Research Project

PG - Capable of Professional and Personal Judgment and Initiative

Our postgraduates will demonstrate a high standard of discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgment. They will have the ability to make informed choices and decisions that reflect both the nature of their professional work and their personal perspectives.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Develop skills in both individual research and working in groups.
  • Apply scientific knowledge to develop realistic strategies for dealing with complex environmental problems.

Assessment task

  • Research Project