Faculty of Science

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

School of Science, Malaysia


Associate Professor Catherine Yule



  • First semester 2016 (Day)


This unit introduces students to ecological processes in terrestrial and aquatic tropical ecosystems. Students will gain an understanding of how populations of animals and plants survive and interact in tropical environments. The unit covers fundamental ecological theories and concepts such as biodiversity, population growth, predation, competition, succession, mutualism, nutrient cycling and disturbance. Consideration will be given to how many of these processes operate differently between tropical and temperate climates. Students will learn how ecological theory can be applied in the management and conservation of tropical environments. The practical component comprises group field projects in tropical rainforests such as a mangrove forest and a dipterocarp forest.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the diversity of tropical ecosystems and how they function;

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of ecological applications and processes relating to a range of aquatic and terrestrial tropical environments;

  1. Undertake sampling programs to collect physico-chemical data and to identify and survey the flora and fauna of tropical habitats;

  1. Manage, analyse and critically evaluate scientific data collected in the field;

  1. Communicate findings effectively in the form of written scientific reports;

  1. Work collaboratively and effectively in teams in tropical environments.


Two field trip reports: 20% each
Three online quizzes: 5% each
Final exam (2 hours): 45%

Workload requirements

Two hours of lectures per week and the equivalent of three hours laboratory/field work per week

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study