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BZ5220 - Population and Community Ecology

Credit points: 3
Year: 2012
Student Contribution Band: Band 4
Administered by: School of Marine & Tropical Biology

Available to students enrolled for the Graduate Diploma of Research Methods; Masters of Applied Science; Graduate Diploma of Science, Graduate Certificate of Science, Graduate Certificate of Development Practice, Graduate Diploma of Development Practice, Master of Development Practice, Master of Science or Bachelor of Science (Advanced).

Animals and plants live in populations. Groups of populations inhabiting the same area make up biological communities. Processes operating at these levels control the biodiversity of habitats and regions. This subject presents the conceptual framework needed to understand these processes and illustrates that framework using examples drawn from many systems including tropical rainforests, which are among the most complex and diverse ecological systems in existence. Topics presented include population growth, species interactions, community patterns and dynamics, food webs and the effects of disturbance and scaling on diversity. In addition to an increased understanding of concepts, students gain hands-on experience in tropical research. Students will be required to attend BZ3220 lectures and practicals.

There are additional charges for this subject; please contact the School for details.

Learning Outcomes

  • gain an ability to critically evaluate original research;
  • understand how communities can be defined and measured and how processes act at the community level;
  • understand modern concepts of population processes and species interactions and their relation to the structure and function of animal communities;
  • understand the composition and structure of rainforest communities and how they are affected by basic processes.

Graduate Qualities

  • The ability to define and to solve problems in at least one discipline area;
  • The ability to think critically, to analyse and evaluate claims, evidence and arguments, and to reason and deploy evidence clearly and logically;
  • The ability to find and access information using appropriate media and technologies;
  • The ability to evaluate that information;
  • The ability to select and organise information and to communicate it accurately, cogently, coherently, creatively and ethically;
  • The acquisition of coherent and disciplined sets of skills, knowledge, values and professional ethics from at least one discipline area;
  • The ability to reflect on and evaluate learning, and to learn independently in a self directed manner;
  • The ability to generate, calculate, interpret and communicate numerical information in ways appropriate to a given discipline or discourse;
  • The ability to lead, manage and contribute effectively to teams;
  • The ability to work with people of different gender, age, ethnicity, culture, religion and political persuasion;
  • The ability to work individually and independently;
  • The ability to select and use appropriate tools and technologies.
Students enrolling in this subject should have an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline or have acquired equivalent knowledge through other study. They should have an excellent understanding of basic ecological principles (BZ5440 or equivalent) and quantitative methods in biology (BZ5001 or equivalent).


Cairns, Study Period 2, Internal
Census Date 23-Aug-2012
Coordinator: Dr Brad Congdon
Lecturers: Assoc. Professor Will Edwards, Dr Brad Congdon.
Workload expectations:
  • 26 hours lectures
  • 39 hours practicals
Assessment: end of semester exam (50%); on-course assessment (50%).

Townsville, Study Period 2, Internal
Census Date 23-Aug-2012
Coordinator: Empro Ross Alford
Lecturers: Dr Robert Congdon, Professor Stephen Williams, Empro Ross Alford.
Workload expectations:
  • 26 hours lectures
  • 12 hours tutorials
  • 24 hours fieldwork
Assessment: end of semester exam (%); tutorial attendance and participation (%); essays (%); field note book (%).

Note: Minor variations might occur due to the continuous Subject quality improvement process, and in case of minor variation(s) in assessment details, the Subject Outline represents the latest official information.