BIOL13031 - Ecology: Theory and Application

General Information

Unit Synopsis

Ecology is the study of the natural world: how organisms interact with one another and with their physical environment, and such knowledge is essential for any study in biology. In this unit, students will study ecology at different levels: the population, community, and evolutionary levels. Practical application of ecology will be emphasised in the study of principles of experimental design, and in the conduct of group research projects.


Level Undergraduate
Unit Level 3
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 2
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

(ZOOL11005 Foundation Animal Biology and BOTN11004 Foundation Plant Biology) or (BIOL11099 Living Systems and BIOL11100 Functional Biology)

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School Compulsory Residential School
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Unit Availabilities from Term 1 - 2024

There are no availabilities for this unit on or after Term 1 - 2024

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Written Assessment 15%
2. Practical and Written Assessment 25%
3. Presentation 10%
4. Examination 50%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%).

Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 2 - 2019 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 4.3 (on a 5 point Likert scale), based on a 100% response rate.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Source: Online unit evaluation.
Students commended the unit resources (including the detailed unit content, full lecture notes/summaries, tutorials, quality lectures, provision of possible exam questions) resulting in enjoyment of the unit, particularly for its real world application.
These and other features underpinning this will be retained and refined further where possible to enhance unit outcomes.
Action Taken
This unit has not been offered since 2019.
Source: Online unit evaluation.
Numerous comments commended the combined block practicum (residential school) as well organised, enjoyable, and adding to the real world application and skills acquisition of the unit.
These aspects will be retained and enhanced where possible, including with some focus on student workload.
Action Taken
This unit has not been offered since 2019.
Source: Online unit evaluation.
Students commended the lecturer (knowledge, skills, approachability, support for student learning, prompt assistance) and thus the engagement engendered in the unit.
The lecturer will continue to practise these behaviours, and where possible enhance the student learning experience.
Action Taken
This unit has not been offered since 2019.
Source: Online unit evaluation, and self-reflection.
A few students commented the reporting assessment arising from the combined block practicum was too onerous for the marks available.
This will be explored with a view to reduce the assessment arising from the combined block practicum, and further consideration will be given to West Australian operations.
Action Taken
This unit has not been offered since 2019.
Unit learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. Comprehend and analyse the elements, concepts, and theories of population and community structure and dynamics.
  2. Comprehend and evaluate the selected elements, concepts, and theories of evolutionary ecology.
  3. Integrate and apply your knowledge of population, evolutionary, and community ecology to real world situations.
  4. Develop further and utilise the skills necessary to undertake ecological fieldwork successfully and to analyse ecological data.
  5. Comprehend and apply the concept, and its elements, of good experimental design.
  6. Evaluate critically the scientific work of others in ecology.
  7. Integrate your comprehension of ecological theory with your comprehension and application of good experimental design to allow you to draw sound conclusions from ecological study.
  8. Communicate your knowledge and findings clearly both orally and in writing.

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 - Written Assessment
2 - Practical and Written Assessment
3 - Presentation
4 - Examination
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
5 - Team Work
6 - Information Technology Competence
7 - Cross Cultural Competence
8 - Ethical practice
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10