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The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at https://www.usq.edu.au/course/specification/current.
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REN2200 Ecology for Sustainability

Semester 1, 2023 Toowoomba On-campus
Units : 1
School or Department : School of Agriculture and Environmental Science
Grading basis : Graded
Course fee schedule : https://www.unisq.edu.au/current-students/administration/fees/fee-schedules
Version produced : 24 September 2023


Course Coordinator: Christina Birnbaum


Enrolment is not permitted in REN2200 if REN8202 has been previously completed.


Knowledge of ecological systems and processes and their contribution to current understanding of the effects of human activities on biodiversity and the environment has become essential for the future sustainable management of the earth's natural resources and the conservation of biodiversity. This course aims to provide knowledge of the fundamentals of ecological theory and practice and its contribution to sustainability, and an overview of human impacts on ecological systems and processes. This course is of particular relevance to students wishing to pursue careers in biology, environmental science, natural resource management, environmental education, environmental engineering and spatial science.

Ecology and conservation are closely related scientific disciplines that explore the very nature of life in terms of the distribution and abundance of organisms and interactions between organisms and their environment (ecology), and the diversity, scarcity and conservation of species, communities and ecosystems (conservation). This course provides a foundation in general ecological concepts and principles relevant to the sustainable management of the environment and knowledge of how ecological systems and processes have been impacted upon by human activities. The concept of biodiversity, mechanisms behind speciation and patterns in biodiversity, key threatening processes, and current issues in the conservation of biodiversity are examined. The course also examines concepts of pattern and processes in human-modified landscapes (including land transformation, habitat fragmentation, patch dynamics, conservation corridors and connectivity), implications for conservation and ecological sustainability.

Course learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. describe the nature of ecology and the scientific method within which it operates;
  2. explain the basic principles and concepts of ecology and apply these to the study of the distribution and abundance of organisms;
  3. evaluate the nature and dynamics of ecological populations, communities and ecosystems and the impacts of human activities on ecological systems and processes;
  4. assess the concept of ecosystem health in the context of human influences on the environment;
  5. analyse ecological information and data to provide informed decision-making in relation to resource management.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Ecology and the Environment 15.00
2. Species, Populations and Biotic Interactions 20.00
3. Communities and Ecosystems 20.00
4. Biodiversity & Conservation 22.00
5. Landscapes, Connectivity and Fragmentation 23.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

Krebs, CJ 2015, Ecology: the experimental analysis of distribution and abundance, 6th International edn, Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco.

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Approach Type Description Group
Weighting (%) Course learning outcomes
Assignments Written Quiz A1 of 3 No 15 1,2,3
Assignments Written Essay 1 No 20 1,2,3,5
Assignments Written Essay 2 No 35 1,2,3,4,5
Assignments Written Quiz A2 of 3 No 15 1,2,3
Assignments Written Quiz A3 of 3 No 15 3,4,5
Date printed 24 September 2023