BIOEB504-23A (HAM)

Freshwater Ecology

15 Points

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Division of Health Engineering Computing & Science
School of Science
Ecology, Biodiversity and Animal Behaviour

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What this paper is about

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This paper aims to build on students' understanding of freshwater ecology. We will explore how advances in ecological theory and scientific methods can deliver new insights into the structure and functioning of freshwater ecosystems. We will also consider how this knowledge can improve our understanding of environmental problems and help guide freshwater management.

The aim of the Freshwater Ecology paper (BIOEB504-22A) is to develop a well-rounded freshwater ecologist. The course will enable you to understand both fundamental and applied aspects of freshwater science, in addition to recognising where links can be made with general ecological concepts and theories.

We will consider scientific literature from local (Aotearoa New Zealand) and international research. Topics will include issues of scale (spatial, temporal) and complexity (individual organisms to ecosystems). We will consider examples from lakes and rivers, and will cover major organismal groups including phytoplankton, macroinvertebrates, fish, and birds.

The paper will focus on key skills needed for a career in freshwater science, including literature searching, critical review of scientific papers, synthesis of scientific knowledge, application of concepts to solve problems, audio-visual presentation, writing a research proposal, and written communication of scientific information.

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How this paper will be taught

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This paper will feature 12 lectures (Thu). The material will be taught in seminar form with an emphasis on interactive discussion. Students are expected to actively take part in all seminars and contribute to in class and online discussions (via Perusall).

Four published research papers will be assigned each week as reading material. These research papers will be made available online in the Perusall portal via Moodle. This software will assess you on your engagement in the readings. Adding questions and comments to the assigned readings in Perusall will increase your grade and help foster interactive discussion.

Students will also be rostered so they (a) present a brief audio-visual talk outlining key points from one of the selected papers, and (b) write a brief synthesis of the week's topic. Each of these tasks are to be performed once by an individual student.

The internal assessment also includes writing a mini-review of scientific literature on an predetermined topic and preparing a short research proposal to address a pressing issue in freshwater science. There will be a final exam.

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Required Readings

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Reading material for each seminar will be provided approximately 1 week before the seminar via Moodle
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Apply ecological theory to understand how species interactions can alter community composition and ecosystem functioning
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  • Appreciate the threats posed by invasive freshwater species and understand what management actions can be taken
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  • Be able to objectively assess the strengths and weaknesses of published scientific research
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  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the consequences of land use change on the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems
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  • Further develop their understanding of important concepts in freshwater ecology
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  • Identify when and why organismal traits can improve our understanding of ecological communities
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  • Identify where links can be made between freshwater science and general ecological theory and concepts
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  • Interpret and communicate results from ecological research
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  • Perform synthesis by integrating different sources of information to produce a wider understanding of an ecological topic
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  • Propose research grounded in fundamental concepts to address an applied ecological problem
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  • Show an appreciation for fundamental and applied aspects of freshwater science
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  • Understand the scientific basis for management and restoration of freshwater ecosystems
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Assessments

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How you will be assessed

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The dates indicated for assessment procedures will normally be adhered to. Any changes to the dates will be made in consultation with the class at least one week prior to the original date. Individuals handing in work late must gain approval from the appropriate lecturer otherwise they will be penalised at 5 % per day.

Because we take issues relating to academic honesty and plagiarism seriously, we expect students in this paper to submit all major pieces of internal assessment (i.e. field trip reports) in hard copy and via Turnitin (accessed through Moodle), a programme that identifies similarities between an individual's work and the papers, books and websites in the Turnitin database. Turnitin results may show where students need extra learning support, as well as sometimes providing the evidence for any disciplinary action. A hard copy of all assignments must also be deposited at the locations described below.

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 60:40. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 40% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 60:40 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 40% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Persusall Readings
24
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Written paper summary
3
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Spoken paper summary
3
  • In Class: In Lecture
4. Literature Review
24
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
5. Research Proposal
6
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
6. Exam
40
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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