BIO2011 - Ecology and biodiversity - 2017

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 Biological Sciences


Dr Rohan Clarke

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


This unit is an introduction to ecology; the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and their environment. Ecology and biodiversity forms the foundation for understanding conservation and the management of genetics, species and ecosystem diversity. The approach taken is to address core ecological theory, but with an emphasis on contemporary management issues and applications. Topics include the scope and approaches of ecological enquiry; abiotic and biotic factors determining distributions; population growth and regulation; species interactions; patterns and maintenance of biodiversity; food web analysis; disturbance and succession; and production ecology and nutrient cycling. Particular emphasis is placed on integrating ecological processes across spatial and temporal scales. Practical work will be completed via a field excursion together with in-laboratory practical sessions.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the modern scope of scientific inquiry in the field of ecology;
  2. Describe the differences in the structure and function of different types of ecosystems;
  3. Identify and describe the fundamental drivers of patterns in diversity;
  4. Explain the main limitations on patterns of energy flow through natural food webs and ecosystems;
  5. Quantitatively describe patterns in populations and communities;
  6. Apply basic ecological sampling techniques in ecosystems and be proficient in summarising and reporting that data in the format of a scientific paper.


Theory examination (2 hours): 45%

Continuous assessment (quizzes): 10%

Participation in practical sessions: 5%

Practical assessment (three assignments): 40%

Workload requirements

Two 1-hour lectures and one 3-hour practical or equivalent

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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


24 points of level one units, which includes 6 points from BIO units or one of ATS1301, ATS1309, ATS1310, BMS1011 or BMS1021.

For Bachelor of Environmental Engineering and associated double degree students only: ENE1621 Environmental engineering and BIO2040 Conservation biology will be required as either prerequisite or corequisite units.