Study Planner Information

What will I study?

Students who undertake a major in Ecology can study:

  • Behavioural ecology – how and why animals behave the way they do.
  • Physiological ecology – how physiological constraints affect ecological processes.
  • Population and community ecology – how the distribution and abundance of organisms change.
  • Conservation ecology – the threats to biopersity and tools for minimising these threats.
  • Landscape ecology – ecology at a larger scale, the interaction between communities and the broader physical context of those communities.
  • Evolutionary ecology – the evolutionary context of current ecological processes and how ecology is affected by evolution.

In addition, students in the Bachelor of Science Ecology major can choose to specialise in the following areas:
Terrestrial Ecology:
Australia’s terrestrial ecosystems contain a unique array of flora and fauna. Studying terrestrial ecology at UQ involves field trips each year – the first to Brisbane Forest Park, the second to Fraser Island and the third to either the outback or Lamington Rainforest. The goal of this specialisation is to familiarise students with the diversity of organisms in the Australian terrestrial environment, the complex interactions that occur among them and current and future threats to ecosystem function. Students will gain skills in species identification, estimating populations, manipulative experiments and data analysis. This specialisation will explore the fundamentals of ecology as well as provide the tools that are needed to conduct ecological research in terrestrial environments. This stream is ideal for those wishing to pursue a career in natural resource management, consultancy, conservation biology or of course, research in terrestrial ecology.  

Marine Ecology:
Much of Australia’s population lives on the coast and understanding the functioning of coastal marine ecosystems is vital to the long-term sustainability of Australia. Studying marine ecology at UQ involves a field trip to Stradbroke Island and Heron Island in second and third year. The goal of this specialisation is to familiarise stiudents with the vast diversity of endemic Australian marine organisms, population and community-level processes and the current threats to this valuable ecosystem. Students will gain skills in species identification, estimating populations, manipulative experiments and data analysis. This stream will explore the fundamentals of ecology and provide the necessary tools to conduct ecological research in marine environments. It is suited to those who wish to pursue a career in fisheries management, marine parks, environment consultancy, the EPA or fundamental research in marine ecology.

Evolutionary Ecology:
What are the ecological consequences of the evolution of pesticide resistance in insects? How do we manage fisheries when fish are evolving to be smaller and reproduce at an earlier age? These are issues that are addressed in the  study of evolutionary ecology. This stream recognises that population dynamics are strongly influenced by evolutionary processes and current interactions are a product of historical evolutionary patterns. Studying evolutionary ecology at UQ involves field trips to the outback, Heron Island or the rainforest and emphasises the interface between ecology and evolution. The goal of this specialisation is to couple an understanding of the fundamentals of ecology with an understanding of evolutionary pattern and process. You will gain skills in working with a wide variety of Australian organisms as well as the quantitative skills necessary for ecology from an evolutionary perspective. This stream is suited to those who seek to work in federal government agencies such as CSIRO, state based agencies such as the Department of Primary Industries or the EPA, or in research at universities.

1st Year Study Planner

What do the different requirements mean?

  • Compulsory for program – all students must complete this course
  • Prerequisite for major – course required for this major
  • Recommended – other science course which complements the major, but can be substituted for an elective
  • Elective - choose a Level 1 course that interests you
Year 1 - Semester 1
Course Code & Title Requirements
BIOL1020 Genes, Cells & Evolution Prerequisite for major
BIOL1030 Global Challenges in Biology Prerequisite for major
SCIE1000 Theory & Practice in Science Recommended
Elective Elective
Year 1 - Semester 2*
*Students who commence this program midyear please see footnote 1 below.
Course Code & Title Requirements
STAT1201 Analysis of Scientific Data Compulsory for program
BIOL1040 Cells to Organisms Prerequisite for major
Elective Elective
Elective Elective

1. Students who commence this program in semester 2 should enrol in BIOL1020, BIOL1040 and STAT1201 to ensure that you are academically prepared for the following semester. Any mid-year commencing student who would like to vary this course selection should contact the Faculty of Science to arrange an academic advising appointment.

Year 2 to 3 Study Planner

Ecology is available as a Single Major. You are required to complete #14 (#6 at Level 2 and #8 at Level 3) from the Ecology course list. The following are suggested study plans for this major and should be used as a guide to planning your program. Please refer to the course list to ensure you complete the major requirements.

The Ecology major requirements were changed for 2016, students completing third year in 2016 have the option of either completing the major according to the requirements of the 2016 list or the 2015 list. Please note that students following the 2015 list can also take any new courses in 2016. Please contact the Faculty of Science if you require more details. 

What do the different columns mean?

  • Sem - Semester
  • Compulsory courses – compulsory for the major.
  • Key courses – electives from the major's course list.
  • Recommended courses – complements the major.

Choose a study plan

Ecology (Single Major) - Terrestrial Ecology

Year 2
Sem Compulsory Courses
Complete all courses
Key Courses
Choose at least #2 from:
Recommended Courses
1 BIOL2006 Biostatistics

BIOL2010 Ecology
BIOL2015 Field Ecology1 MARS2014 Marine Science
2   BIOL2203 Plant Biology

BIOL2204 Zoology
BIOL2201 Evolution

BIOL2202 Genetics

BIOL2205 Insect Science
Year 3
Sem Key Courses
Choose at least #6 from:
Key Courses
Choose at least #2 from either the courses below or any level 3 course from the Ecology list:
Recommended Courses
1 BIOL3016 Outback Ecology Field Studies1

BIOL3310 Macroecology and Biogeography
(This course will be first offered in 2017)

BIOL3360 Analysis & Communication of Biological Data
(This course will be first offered in 2017)

BIOL3370 Ecology & Evolution of Animal-Plant Interactions
(This course will be first offered in 2017)
 
BIOL3207 Animal Behaviour

BIOL3209 Biodiversity Analysis, Discovery & Systematics

CONS3017 Landscape Ecology
Any course from Ecology course list
2 BIOL3000 Conservation

BIOL3300 Functional Ecology1
(This course will be first offered in 2018)
BIOL3023 Tropical Marine Ecosystems

BIOL3205 Physiological & Integrative Zoology

BIOL3227 Plant Identification & Vegetation Classification

BIOL3236 Climate Change Biology
 
Any course from Ecology course list

1. Students must complete at least one field-based course selected from BIOL2015 or BIOL3016 or BIOL3300 to meet the requirements for the Ecology major.


 

Ecology (Single Major) - Marine Ecology

Year 2
Sem Compulsory Courses
Complete all courses
Key Courses
Choose at least #2 from:
Recommended Courses
1 BIOL2006 Biostatistics

BIOL2010 Ecology
BIOL2015 Field Ecology1

MARS2014 Marine Science
-
2 - - BIOL2201 Evolution

BIOL2202 Genetics

BIOL2203 Plant Biology

BIOL2204 Zoology

BIOL2205 Insect Science
Year 3
Sem Key Courses
Choose at least #6 from:
Key Courses
Choose at least #2 from either the courses below or any level 3 course from the Ecology list:
Recommended Elective Courses
1 BIOL3310 Macroecology and Biogeography
(This course will be first offered in 2017)

BIOL3360 Analysis & Communication of Biological Data
(This course will be first offered in 2017)
BIOL3209 Organism Diversity & Evolution

BIOL3330 Marine Biology Field Studies
(This course will be first offered in 2018)
BIOL3211 Marine Invertebrates
2 BIOL3000 Conservation

BIOL3215 Marine Ecology & Conservation

BIOL3300 Functional Ecology1
(This course will be first offered in 2018)
BIOL3023 Marine Tropical Ecosystems

BIOL3205 Physiological & Integrative Zoology

BIOL3227 Plant Identification

BIOL3236 Climate Change Biology

BIOL3320 Vertebrate Diveristy & Evolution

BIOL3340 Fish, Fisheries & Aquaculture
MARS3012 Physical-Biological Oceanography

Any course from Ecology course list


1. Students must complete at least one field-based course selected from BIOL2015 or BIOL3016 or BIOL3300 to meet the requirements for the Ecology major.


Ecology (Single Major) - Evolutionary Ecology

 

Year 2
Sem Compulsory Courses
Complete all courses
Key Courses
Choose at least #2 from:
Recommended Courses
1 BIOL2006 Biostatistics

BIOL2010 Ecology
BIOL2015 Field Ecology1 MARS2014 Marine Science
2 - BIOL2201 Evolution

BIOL2202 Genetics
BIOL2203 Plant Biology

BIOL2204 Zoology

BIOL2205 Insect Science

 

Year 3
Sem Key Courses
Choose at least #6 from:
Key Courses
Choose at least #2 from either the courses below or any level 3 course from the Ecology list:
Recommended Courses
1 BIOL3016 Outback Ecology Field Studies1

BIOL3310 Macroecology & Biogeography
(This course will be first offered in 2017)

BIOL3360 Analysis & Communication of Biological Data
(This course will be first offered in 2017)

BIOL3370 Ecology & Evolution of Animal-Plant Interactions
(This course will be first offered in 2017)
BIOL3207 Animal Behaviour

BIOL3209 Organism Diversity & Evolution

BIOL3390 Genome Evolution
(This course will be first offered in 2017)

 
Any course from Ecology course list
2 BIOL3000 Conservation

BIOL3300 Functional Ecology1
(This course will be first offered in 2018)
BIOL3205 Physiological & Integrative Zoology

BIOL3236 Climate Change and Adaptation

BIOL3320 Vertebrate Diversity & Evolution

BIOL3350 Genetics of Complex Traits
Any course from Ecology course list

1. Students must complete at least one field-based course selected from BIOL2015 or BIOL3016 or BIOL3300 to meet the requirements for the Ecology major.


Careers in Ecology

Graduates specialising in ecology are employed by a wide variety of state and federal government departments and agencies, including the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), in private industry as environmental officers, and in the expanding area of environmental impact assessment. Some graduates are self-employed as consultants. As we become increasingly aware of the value of ecological goods and services to humanity (estimated at $30 trillion annually), there is increasing demand for graduates with an understanding of the ecological principles of natural-resource management.

With global threats to biopersity and the recognition of the fundamental importance of healthy ecosystems for economic prosperity and human wellbeing, there are a wide range of exciting employment opportunities in the field of ecology.

  • Government ecologists work at various levels of government from local through to federal and are responsible for reviewing environmental impact assessments; formulating policy on biopersity and park management; developing strategies to deal with the impacts of exotic animals and weeds; and planning habitat restoration and fisheries management. They investigate how ecological processes are affected by human activities and interpret ecological data to make predictions about short term and long term impacts on biopersity and ecosystem function.
  • Ecology consultants work for consultancies of a range of sizes and are responsible for preparing environmental impact statements for projects that range from very small (e.g. the impact of a new footpath on a breeding population of birds) to very large (e.g. the effect of installing a desalination plant in Botany Bay). They collect data in the field, review the available literature and use complex physical and ecological models to make predictions about the impacts of projects on biopersity and the ecological health of the affected area.
  • Conservation ecologists work for non-government organisations such as the Nature Conservancy and the World Wide Fund for Nature, reviewing scientific evidence of human impacts, providing comment on government policy and investigating or drawing attention to threats to biopersity.
  • Research ecologists work for universities and federal and state research bodies and conduct research on fundamental and applied elements of ecology, often at the same time. Research ecologists work in the field and the laboratory and also produce complex mathematical models to understand how ecological processes affect the distribution and abundance of organisms on the planet.

Many BSc graduates also enter into further research-based studies in Honours, Masters and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs.

 

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First Year Guide 2017 for St Lucia Students

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First Year Guide 2017 for Gatton Students

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First Year Guide 2017 for External Gatton Students