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This subject focuses on the relationship between landforms and the diversity of plants and animals they host. It investigates the way in which certain landscapes support particular types of ecosystems and the roles played by climate, time and earth surface processes in maintaining and forcing change in those ecosystems. The key systems covered include river, wetland, groundwater, karst, desert and alpine. The subject also considers human impacts and climate change and how these may determine biodiversity and geomorphological trajectories of these systems. Field work (of up to 5 days through the semester) will be a key learning mode. Through lectures, practicals and field exercises, skills will be developed in a range of analytical techniques used to investigate relevant environmental processes and changes.
Intended learning outcomes
Students will develop an understanding of how key ecosystems function in the landscape. Through lectures, practicals and field exercises students will gain knowledge and develop skills in the following:
- how ecosystems are controlled by processes operating over catchment and regional scales;
- how ecosystems are important for the maintenance of biodiversity and the quality of human life; and
- how changes due to climate change or human impacts affect the timing and scale of environmental processes.
Be able to:
- understand the broad-scale relationships between landforms and ecosystem diversity;
- understand the influence of human impacts, time and climate on these relationships;
- critically evaluate the published literature concerning river, lake, groundwater, cave, desert, alpine and wetland systems;
- write clear and concise reports and reviews;
- understand important methods of environmental analysis; and
- conduct library-based research.
Last updated: 18 December 2020