* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project
Download Environmental science
Document related concepts
Environmental Science – A Rough Guide 2012 Course details TOPIC A: Main criterion assessed Examples of course area Suggestions for activities TECHNIQUES FOR INVESTIGATING THE NATURAL WORLD A.1. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN 2 A.2. BIOTIC AND ABIOTIC SURVEYS A.2.1. Baseline studies and continuous monitoring of environmental factors 2 2 /8 A.2.2. Use of indicator (index) species as indicators of environmental health 2 A.2.3. Techniques such as capture/recapture, line transects, quadrants, remote sensing 2 A.2.4. Chemical analysis of water, air and soil 2 /8 This covers the following aspects: Putting forward a hypothesis Designing an experiment Evaluating the method Suggesting improvements to experiments An understanding of what these are and how they may be used An understanding of what is an indicator species. Provide examples A working knowledge of how these techniques work. Some of these lend themselves to practical work in different ecosystems. Practical component to this is a possibility. E.g. Waterwatch activities, air pollution monitoring. Second hand data analysis. Criterion 8 A.3. Opinion surveys TOPIC B: THE ROLE OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE ON SOCIETY B.1. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE and society B.1.1. The importance of values in decision making B.1.2. Attitudes to the environment 4 B.1.3. Pressure groups and their role in decision making B.1.4. Our traditional economic system and how it impacts on the environment B.1.5. a Federal system of government and environmental management 4 4 4 The importance of this section is to understand the influences on decision-making and the consequences that may arise. This is part of Criterion 4 Issues such as – Whaling, Tarkine, Coal Seam gas could be used here. 7 TOPIC C: ECOLOGY Most of this topic comes under Criterion 5 in terms of knowledge and understanding. However there are many examples of data analysis which lends any of these topics to Criterion 8. C.1. THE SYSTEMS APPROACH C.1.1. Levels of organisation within the biosphere C.1.2. Open and closed systems C.1.3. The energy laws (first & second) C.1.4. Positive and negative feedback C.2. ECOSYSTEMS C.2.1. Definition 5 5 5 5 5 An introductory section to ecology but an important aspect. This section should not take more than 2 – 3 lessons overall. An overall understanding of the Australian landscape and the varying ecosystems. The role and influence of abiotic factors in shaping them E.g. Australia’s water resources Rainfall patterns C.2.2. Biotic and abiotic factors 5 C.2.2.1. Factors affecting productivity 5 5 C.2.3. Terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems (brief outline of the major systems) C.3. INPUTS AND OUTPUTS OF ECOSYSTEMS C.3.1. Matter flow within ecosystems C.3.1.1. Role of producers in photosynthesis C.3.1.2. Role of producers, consumers and decomposers in ecosystems C.3.1.3. Food chains and food webs C.3.1.4. Nutrient cycles: carbon, nitrogen (including role of legumes), phosphorus, water C.3.2. Energy flow through ecosystems C.3.2.1. Energy transformation during respiration C.3.2.2. Concept of trophic levels: • loss of matter and energy at each trophic level (10% concept) • explain the above in terms of the energy laws • why there are so few trophic levels in some ecosystems C.3.2.3. Pyramids of numbers, biomass and energy C.4. RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN SPECIES C.4.1. Niche concept C.4.2. Competition, predation, parasitism, commensalism, mutualism C.5. CHANGES IN ECOSYSTEMS C.5.1. Importance of climate and climate change 5 5 5 What they are with examples. Measuring abiotic factors in an ecosystem is encouraged. E.g. Forestry: Importance of geology, soils and climate E.g. Aquatic systems (FW and Oceans) Importance of currents, temperature, DO and other chemicals This is where understanding some examples of ecosystems could be done through practical investigations; forests, waterways, marine rocky platforms, alpine areas etc E.g. Forest types Wet sclerophyll, dry sclerophyll, rainforest, grasslands, alpine Common tree species E.g. Aquatic ecosystems and their variety The basic nuts and bolts of environmental science with a fundamental understanding of ecology. Lots of different examples can be used here and tied to different current issues to make it more relevant. 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 As the following topics depend on humans being the main agent of change , perhaps they should be assessed under Criterion 6 6 Impacts of climate change Species adaptation/extinction Importance and loss of the poles/glaciers Ocean Acidification Coral bleaching Sea level rise and flooding Extreme weather C.5.2. Importance of fire 6 C.5.3. Natural selection and how pests develop resistance to pesticides, use of biological control C.5.4. Introduced species leading to ecosystem imbalances and impacts on natural populations C.6. POPULATIONS 6 6 Could be covered as part of Biodiversity eg Mites on bees ,cane toads and their spread C.6.1. Characteristics of populations 5 C.6.2. Factors that limit population size: • carrying capacity • importance of competition 5 C.6.3. Graphical representation of population growth: • predator/prey relationships • S curves and J curves 5 Basic demographic change, birth, death, migration rates. How different ecosystems have varying carrying capacity – polar versus tropical differences. Fluctuations leading to decline of populations Population growth in Australia and an ecological versus economic debate TOPIC D: In regeneration of forests and its possible relation to climate and consequently implications for where people may live Could be covered with pollution as an example of impacts. HOW HUMANS DEPEND UPON AND IMPACT UPON THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT D.1. ECOSYSTEM SERVICES The role of ecosystems in providing humans with D.1.1. Food, oxygen, clean water, clean air D.1.2. Climate regulation D.1.3. Resources (renewable and nonrenewable) D.2. VALUES OF ECOSYSTEMS Economic, ethical, aesthetic, social, educational, scientific 6 Understanding of these is important as they are usually impacted on by human activities. Good example is the bee and its role in pollination and the impact of the introduced mite may have. 4 D.3. ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINTS D.3.1. How footprint is calculated D.3.2. Comparison of ecological footprints of different human populations D.4. BIODIVERSITY D.4.1. Types of biodiversity D.4.2. Why biodiversity is important D.4.3. Processes that threaten biodiversity – loss of habitat etc. D.4.4. Preventing the loss of biodiversity 6 Also important. Many issues can be used to explore this. Internally assessed. Eg Tarkine, Coal seam gas etc This should also cover carbon footprints. Discuss the difference between carbon and ecological footprints. D.5. POLLUTION D.5.1. Definition of pollutant D.5.2. Lifetime in environment (biodegradable/non-biodegradable) D.5.3. Toxicity D.5.4. Biomagnification D.5.5. Concept of synergy D.5.6. Farm waste and sewage (eutrophication, biological oxygen demand) 6 6 Focus this year on biodiversity issues: Tasmanian Devil Orange bellied parrot Kangaroo culling on mainland Whaling in southern ocean Eradication of introduced species from Macquarie Island Aquatic ecosystems Water quality and measurements Water pollutants and sources D.6. IMPACTS D.6.1. Concept of the Commons and Open Access resources – the tragedy of the commons D.6.2. Human impact on the environment - This section can be taught in terms of themes related to our lifestyles, e.g. in terms of urban and rural differences, or climate change D.6.2.1. Agricultural ecosystems: • monoculture crops • soil degradation • wet and dry land salinity • erosion D.6.2.2. Earth resources: • depletion • impact of energy production D.6.2.3. Aquatic ecosystems: • water supply and usage • draining wetlands • oceans 6 This provides a starting point for understanding impacts and should be well understood by students. 6 Food security in Australia – what are the threats implications and solutions? Salinity can be explored as an Expt design situation 6 The role of fossil fuels in the climate debate, the role of Renewable energy versus coal 6 D.6.2.4. The atmosphere • urban air pollution – photochemical smog • enhanced greenhouse effect • ozone depletion • acid rain 6 TOPIC E: Water usage / environmental flows – how much is too much. Water for food security? Aquaculture expansion in Tasmania –Huon and West Coast Issues relating to these. Atmosphere & Greenhouse Gases (GWP – Global warming potential) Effects of acid rain Radiation eg Fukushuma Ozone depletion ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT The concept of sustainability is central to the understanding of the interactions between human society and the natural world. Resource management issues are issues of sustainability and this will be stressed in this topic. This unit will be studied using current development proposals as examples. The study will consider how we manage our marine resources, forest resources, energy resources, and food production and how we could do so more sustainably. It will also consider how we manage our natural ecosystems (for example national parks, marine parks, the atmosphere and our waterways and oceans). E.1. ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT E.1.1. Definition of ecological sustainability E.1.2. Important principles: • intergenerational equity • intragenerational (social) equity • conservation of biodiversity and ecological integrity • precautionary and anticipatory principle • pricing environmental values and natural resources (user pays principle) • efficiency of resource use E.2. STRATEGIES FOR IMPLEMENTATION E.2.1. Education E.2.2. Science and technology E.2.3. Economics • green economics • accounting for environmental assets • real cost pricing principle (user pays principle) • taxes (polluter pays principle) • incentives • mandatory renewable energy targets (MRETs) 7 These principles need to be well understood so that they could be applied to any situation. Eg; Fisheries and the overuse of some species, Forestry- is it sustainable? Aquaculture – is it sustainable? 7 Strategies for factors impacting on Biodiversity issues: Conservation and reserve systems – CAR system eg should the Tarkine become a National Park? Captive breeding, zoos, translocations and its usefulness in conservation eg Devil, OBP etc The role of the EPBC act Macquarie Island and eradication of rabbits E.2.4. The law • problems of relying on legal processes • international agreements E.3. MANAGEMENT TOOLS E.3.1. E.I.A./E.I.S. E.3.2. A discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of cost/benefit and analysis risk assessment E.4. MANAGEMENT PLANS E.4.1. What they are E.4.2. How they are developed: • identification of stakeholders • vision statement • description and mapping of resources • valuing of resources • determine legal restrictions • selecting appropriate technology • ongoing monitoring • evaluating the management plan • suggest various options E.5. BARRIERS TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT E.5.1. Global economic system E.5.2. Difference between less economically developed countries (LEDCs) and more economically developed countries (MEDCs) E.5.3. 3rd world debt / 1st world greed 7 7 7 EIA should be covered as described. - Eg relate to Biodiversity issues and developments in general - Fukushima Outline of what they are , why we have them and some examples. - Eg relate to Biodiversity issues and developments in general Also important in understanding developed versus developing countries. Criterion 8 Questions for students can be drawn from any topics highlighted in the right hand column that lends itself to analysis and data interpretation.