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BZ5220 - Population and Community Ecology

Credit points: 3
Year: 2021
Student Contribution Band: Band 2
Administered by: College of Science and Engineering

Available to students admitted to 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 Master of Science (Professional)

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.

Subject Assessment

  • Written > Examination (centrally administered) - (50%) - Individual
  • Oral > Presentation 1 - (10%) - Individual
  • Participation > Class participation - (30%) - Individual
  • Written > Field notes - (10%) - Individual.
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 (BS5460 or equivalent) and quantitative methods in biology (SC5202 or equivalent).
BZ3220 BZ3230 BZ5230


Townsville, Internal, Study Period 2
Census Date 26-Aug-2021
Coordinator: Professor Stephen Williams
Lecturers: Professor Stephen Williams, Assoc. Professor Lucas Cernusak, Dr Ben Hirsch.
Workload expectations:

The student workload for this 3 credit point subject is approximately 130 hours.

  • 26 hours lectures (didactic or interactive)
  • 9 hours tutorials
  • 24 hours fieldwork
  • assessment and self-directed study

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.