ECOL403 Ecology - Populations to Ecosystems

UNE has cancelled in-person, paper-based exams for Trimester 1 per government advice to avoid large indoor gatherings. Instead, all exams will either be transferred to other modes of assessment, or offered online. We are working as quickly as possible to update the published information regarding unit assessments but warn that the information contained here may be inaccurate or subject to change. Information about assessment changes will be provided to student via individual Moodle unit sites as they become available. Immediate information on online exams is available on UNE's Online Supervised Exams page.

Updated: 29 January 2020
Credit Points 6
Location Teaching Period Mode of Study
Armidale Trimester 1 Online
Armidale Trimester 1 On Campus
Armidale Trimester 3 Online
Intensive School(s) None
Supervised Exam There is a supervised exam at the end of the teaching period in which you are enrolled. The exam will either be paper-based and offered at an established exam venue or online with supervision via webcam and screen sharing technology. Coordinated by UNE Exams Unit.
Pre-requisites candidature in BAnimSc or candidature in a postgraduate award
Co-requisites None
Restrictions ECOL203 or ECOL210 or ECOL220 or ECOL510
Notes None
Combined Units ECOL203 - Ecology - Populations to Ecosystems
  • Trimester 1 - Coordinator : Karl Vernes (
  • Trimester 3 - Coordinator : To be advised
Unit Description

Ecology is based on an understanding of the distribution and abundance of living organisms, interactions between species, populations and communities, and interactions between organisms and their environment. This unit focuses on the ecology of populations, communities and ecosystems, and the processes that structure ubiquitous gradients (e.g. altitude, latitude, soil fertility, moisture) in terrestrial landscapes. Topics include competition, predator-prey relationships, community structure and succession, dispersal and recruitment, flows of energy and matter in ecosystems, and the role of disturbance in regulating ecosystem dynamics, and human impacts on global ecosystems. This unit provides an introduction to major Australian ecosystems such as forests, woodlands, deserts and aquatic biomes.

Important Information

Where calculators are permitted in examinations, it must be selected from an approved list, which can be accessed from the Further Information link below.

Further information

Recommended Material


Note: Recommended material may be held in the University Library - purchase is optional

Ecology: An Australian Perspective

ISBN: 9780195550429
Attiwill, P. and Wilson, B., Oxford 2nd ed. 2006

Note: This textbook is now out of print however is available on eReserve through the Dixson Library.

Text refers to: Trimester 1, On Campus and Online

Disclaimer Unit information may be subject to change prior to commencement of the teaching period.
Title Exam Length Weight Mode No. Words
Compulsory Assignment 1 20% 1500
Assessment Notes


Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1-4

Compulsory Assignment 2 20% 1500
Assessment Notes


Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1-4

Compulsory Online Quiz 20% 500
Assessment Notes

8 x online quizzes worth 2.5% each

Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1-4

Compulsory Final Examination 2 hrs 15 mins 40%
Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1-4

Learning Outcomes (LO) Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. demonstrate an advanced understanding and appreciation of the conceptual basis and basic principles of ecology and communicate information and ideas to others in verbal and written formats;
  2. demonstrate an advanced understanding of how the distribution and abundance of plants and animals are described through increasingly complex levels of biological organisation (populations, communities and ecosystems);
  3. demonstrate an advanced knowledge of and be able to critically analyse and evaluate information in order to explain the fundamental role of ecological gradients in structuring population and communities and in shaping nutrient and energy flow in ecosystems and communicate this information to others through written and verbal formats; and
  4. demonstrate an advanced and in-depth knowledge of the subject and demonstrate well-developed practical skills in the observation, description and measurement of populations, communities and ecosystems.