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Transcript
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.