In the move to our new system and website, we are encountering some technical issues.
We are working hard to fix these and we appreciate your patience and understanding.

Subject details

  • Topics
    • Scientific method (including an introduction to the cell theory and evolution as the unifying theories of modern biology)
    • Understanding biodiversity (a survey of the characteristics of the major groups of living biota)
    • Evolution in action - population and community ecology
    • Biodiversity and the environment - marine, inland aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems
    • The future - conservation biology and restoration ecology
  • Study resources
    • Instructional Methods
      • Disscusion forum/Discussion Board
      • Standard Media
      • Streaming Multimedia
      • Web links

At the completion of this subject 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.
  • Assignment 1 - Two practical reports (20%)
  • Assignment 2 - 2 hour examination (50%)
  • Assignment 3 - 3 x Online quizzes (30%)

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a subject

No eligibility requirements

Special requirements

No special requirements

This subject was previously known as Introduction to Environmental Biology.

This subject 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.

Related degrees