ECOL404 Ecological Methods

Updated: 27 September 2019
Credit Points 6
Location Teaching Period Mode of Study
Armidale Trimester 1 Online
Armidale Trimester 1 On Campus
Intensive School(s)

Intensive schools are for students enrolled in Online Mode only, unless specified in the notes.

Start Finish Attendance Notes
14 April 2020 17 April 2020 Mandatory None
Supervised Exam There is a supervised exam at the end of the teaching period in which you are enrolled. The paper-based exam will be held at an established exam venue, and coordinated by UNE Exams Unit.
Pre-requisites candidature in BAnimSc or candidature in a postgraduate award
Co-requisites None
Restrictions ECOL204 or EM331 or EM531

The School of Environmental and Rural Science considers all practical/laboratory/tutorial activities as essential to student learning. Attendance and participation in all practical/laboratory/tutorial classes (sessions) is mandatory - exemptions will not be granted without supporting evidence

Combined Units ECOL204 - Ecological Methods
Coordinator(s) Stuart Cairns (
Unit Description

A fundamental skill in ecology is the ability to collect and analyse biological data efficiently and correctly. The correct methods depend on the research question, available resources (equipment, time and money), and the logistic constraints of survey/experimental design. This unit links sampling methods and survey designs for assessing changes along ecological gradients with suitable techniques for data analysis and presentation. Topics: the fundamental requirements (eg, randomisation, replication) of survey and experimental designs, types of ecological data, commonly-used methods to sample plants and animals, and technical skills for field surveys. How to present and analyse ecological data with a focus on correct interpretation of the results and the limitations of the sampling and analytical methods is also covered.

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

Materials Textbook information will be displayed approximately 8 weeks prior to the commencement of the teaching period. Please note that textbook requirements may vary from one teaching period to the next.
Disclaimer Unit information may be subject to change prior to commencement of the teaching period.
Assessment Assessment information will be published prior to commencement of the teaching period.
Learning Outcomes (LO) Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. design a survey or ecological experiment with adequate replication and randomisation, and identify potential flaws in design, sampling methods and analysis;
  2. survey environmental variables, plants and animals in a standard, rigorous way using conventional methods in the field;
  3. apply these methods to assessing changes along ecological gradients (e.g., altitude, latitude, human disturbance);
  4. use graphical packages and computing software in the environmental sciences with confidence; and
  5. plot, analyse and interpret data from ecological surveys and experiments using conventional graphical and statistical technique and communicate results and explain survey and statistical methods to a lay audience.