Environmental Biology - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 1
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: No
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP1 , SP3
  • Availability for 2017: SP1 , SP3
  • Assessment: Invigilated Exam (50%) , Report - Five practical reports (50%)

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 1,131.00
HECS 1,131.00
International 1,381.00

This unit was previously known as Introduction to Environmental Biology.

This unit introduces the theoretical and practical framework underpinning studies of natural ecosystems. Topics of classifying biodiversity, interactions within the biosphere and human impacts are explored using the unifying themes of the scientific method, cell theory and evolution. Detailed examples include the near shore marine environment, the freshwater environment and the arid terrestrial environment. Australian case studies illustrate basic principles. Practical work reinforces the environmental theme while building skills in observation, quantification, experimental design and interpreting data.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. explain, with examples, why the skills of observing, classifying, predicting, experimenting, theorising and communicating are important in environmental biology
  2. outline the major tenets of the cell theory and the theory of evolution and explain why they are the major unifying theories of modern biology
  3. describe briefly the distinguishing features of the major phyla of eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms
  4. discuss, using examples from biogeography such as biomes and the theory of continental drift, the concept that 'ecology is evolution in action'
  5. describe the main features of marine, inland aquatic and terrestrial environments and give examples of animals and plants that are adapted to each
  6. outline the main features of conservation biology as a sub-discipline of environmental biology and present a rationale for the conservation of the wild living resources of the earth
  7. write clear, concise reports on your laboratory and field work that follow standard biological conventions, especially referencing.
  • Invigilated Exam (50%)
  • Report — Five practical reports (50%)
For more information on invigilated exams see Exams and results

There are no prerequisites for this unit.

  • Broadband access

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Scientific method (including an introduction to the cell theory and evolution as the unifying theories of modern biology)
2Understanding biodiversity (a survey of the characteristics of the major groups of living biota)
3Evolution in action - population and community ecology
4Biodiversity and the environment - marine, inland aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems
5The future - conservation biology and restoration ecology

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Standard Media
  • Streaming Multimedia
  • Web links

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbook information for this unit is currently being updated and will be available soon. Please check back regularly for updates. Alternatively, visit the The Co-op website and enter the unit details to search for available textbooks.

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