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SC5502 - Design and Analyses in Ecological Studies

Credit points: 3
Year: 2021
Student Contribution Band: Band 1
Administered by: College of Science and Engineering

This intensive mode subject aims at revising and extending knowledge of the design of sampling and monitoring programs and of manipulative experiments. The subject concentrates on the development of sampling strategies and experiments, emphasising theoretical, practical and statistical considerations. Students are expected to extend their skills and demonstrate their understanding of: the types of data that might be generated, some of the analyses that are available for particular purposes, the assumptions that underpin those analyses, how to interpret the end product of the analyses, and the need for a critical and informed approach to statistical analysis. The subject is designed for postgraduate students whose future professional activities are likely to require an understanding of the design and analysis of ecological studies and the interpretation of the output from statistical software in a biological context. In particular, those students who intend to move into honours or graduate studies (Masters or PhD), and those who intend to work as professional scientists. The first week of the subject involves lectures and computer workshops on sampling design and statistical analyses. The 2nd week of the subject includes a field trip to Orpheus Island research station during which student's apply theoretical content acquired in week 1. The field trip is primarily devoted to student's developing and undertaking an independent, field based, research project in ecology Students will incur extra costs to cover travel and accommodation expenses for the field trip.

Learning Outcomes

  • critique and design scientifically sound sampling and experimental design projects to address an array of biological and ecological questions;
  • select and apply appropriate statistical analyses for a range of sampling regimes and data types, and subsequently interpret the results in an ecological context;
  • problem solve complex issues in the acquisition, analysis, interpretation and communication of scientific research;
  • initiate, design, undertake and communicate an independent field based research project in ecology or biology, thereby demonstrating competency in scientific research.

Subject Assessment

  • Oral > Presentation 1 - (10%) - Group
  • Fish and Coral Sampling Methods - (15%) - Individual
  • Written > Research report - (60%) - Individual
  • Written > Workbook - (15%) - 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 ecological principles and statistics, and have successfully completed a basic univariate statistics course at university level.


Townsville, Study Period 3, Intensive
Census Date 04-Feb-2021
Face to face teaching 01-Feb-2021 to 11-Feb-2021
Coord/Lect: Dr Naomi Gardiner.
Workload expectations:

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

  • 22 hours lectures (didactic or interactive) - Combined teaching hours; lectures, workshops, fieldwork
  • 13 hours workshops
  • 4 hours presentations
  • 30 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.