Ecology is the study of interactions between organisms and their environments, which is central to understanding the diversity and organisation of life at the main recognised levels (genes, species and ecosystems). Conservation biology seeks to understand human impacts on these natural patterns and processes, and to devise practical means to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem functions such as how nutrients move through nature. The escalating global crisis in biodiversity loss is regarded by many people as the most critical and pressing issue ever to face humanity.
Students of ecology and conservation biology at Monash will engage with the key principles of the discipline, underpinning the exploration of the broad range of fascinating and practically important biological questions that can be addressed by the study of biodiversity. Because lecturing staff are also high quality researchers and teaching occurs in advanced laboratory and field settings, the curriculum is able to address the latest methodologies, technologies and analyses.
Ecology and conservation biology students will be equipped with intellectual, practical and communication skills to gain employment in diverse situations. They may come to work for non-government organisations such as Landcare Australia, in research for universities and organisations such as the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial and Research Organisation (CSIRO), or to continue onto more specialised postgraduate studies. They may gain employment developing conservation policy for government environment agencies, in environmental consultancy, or helping mining and engineering companies to limit their environmental footprint. Some find their calling in science communication.
Ecology and conservation biology is listed in S2000 Bachelor of Science, S3001 Bachelor of Science Advanced - Global Challenges (Honours) and S3002 Bachelor of Science Advanced - Research (Honours) at Clayton as a major, extended major or minor.
In addition to achieving the broad outcomes of their course, students successfully completing this major or extended major will be able to:
- explain the principles underlying ecological and evolutionary interactions between organisms and their environment
- describe the application of those principles to conservation management, complemented by an appreciation of the role and relevance of ecology in society, in particular in connection with the significant role of biodiversity in sustaining life on our planet
- demonstrate problem-solving by applying analytical and practical ecological skills in diverse environments, encompassing working with plants and animals, designing and implementing laboratory and field methods for their study, and conducting analyses concerned with testing ideas at ecological levels from genes to species to ecosystems.