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Semester 1 - Online
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This subject aims to provide students with the skills to undertake and critically evaluate environmental risk assessments. Students will learn a range of qualitative and quantitative tools from a variety of disciplines, and apply them to environmental risk problems. Students completing this subject should be familiar with the concept of exposure pathways; understand the ecological processes associated with contamination in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems; be able to develop empirical models; estimate exposures and responses in ecological systems; and develop a critical understanding of methodologies used in environmental risk assessment.
Topics include the concepts of risk assessment, psychology and history of risk perception, Australian standards for risk assessment, risk assessment frameworks, exposure pathways, hazard assessment, casual and empirical modeling, inference from data, endpoints and management goals, interval arithmetic, logic trees, environmental toxicology, decision-making under risk and uncertainty, social context of risk, and risk management.
Intended learning outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
- formulate environmental decision problems using frameworks for risk assessment and decision making;
- describe how environmental data, uncertainty and consequences are employed in risk management frameworks, including current standards i.e. ISO31000;
- apply, examine and compare a range of established and emerging qualitative and quantitative techniques and tools to carry out environmental risk assessment;
- identify the environmental, economic and social multi-dimensionality of risk and differentiate how science and values influence decision making processes; and
- evaluate and critique how acceptable risk and trade-offs are dealt with in environmental problems.
On completion of this subject students should have developed the following generic skills:
- ability to apply their broad knowledge of risk assessment across a range of fields, including environmental science, conservation biology, biosecurity, ecotoxicology, and epidemiology;
- capacity to employ highly developed conceptual, analytical, quantitative and technical skills relevant to environmental risk assessment;
- ability to evaluate risk assessment techniques, different types of information and uncertainty in addressing decisions about risk to the environment and people; and
- capacity to work effectively in groups to undertake a group risk assessment with people whose disciplinary and cultural backgrounds differ from their own.
Last updated: 9 September 2021