21 February, 2009


Classes start next week. It's a horrible mesh of clashes, but I think I have at least worked out my Practicals and Tutorials so they don't clash with each other.
For the lectures...I'm thinking a rotation plan where I switch in between each class. With two lectures for each course a week, I can attend at least one lecture for each class a week. Except Genetics, as it has a third, not-clashing lecture.

The classes look to be challenging, with Human Ecology looking to be very involved and Vegetation Ecology being my weakness. There is also a substantial flora amount in population ecology.

Human Ecology: "principles of evolutionary biology and ecosystems analysis to the study of the human environment". The significance and functions of ecosystems and how humans have affected them in the past and now are listed as the major focus. It appears to branch off into system processes and how ecosystems have affected the human condition.
We are expected to bring our individual thoughts and processes to the course, and there are quite a few suggested readings that I will hopefully not procrastinate on.

There is also a field trip to the Snowy Mountains. It shall be cold.

Vegetation Ecology:
Vegetation Ecology of Australia is an important basis for conservation and sustainable management of our forests and woodlands. A necessary course that will prove to be interesting, even if I'm personally not interested or thrilled about plants.
Classification, geomorphological distribution, reproduction, growth, adaptation, their relationship with with biodiversity and the "taxonomy and biogeography focusing on the major taxa of Corymbia, Symphymyrtus and Monocalyptus".

I should set up a word document for each of these "study sections" so I don't mix anything up incorrectly.

There appears to be one field trip to Kioloa and various field work at Canberra Nature Parks, Namadgi National Park, and the Murramarang National Park. I am currently not aware of how closes these are to Canberra and if they are a day trip or a field trip.

Genetics, an Introduction:
This will be just as tricky as the others. The main point is for me to be taught the "fundamentals of genetics, emphasising the area of population genetics which is central to understanding the evolutionary process." We will also "explore the application of population genetic theory to human forensics and conservation biology."
This class is a prerequisite to some of my later classes and is pretty much necessary to understand my future ecology, behaviour and disease courses.
Genetics is also interesting and useful in it's own right.

As with human ecology, there is a lot of suggested reading but no required books. Looks like I'm free from purchasing more expensive books.

Lastly, Population Ecology: Spoke too soon. I need to purchase M. Begon's Ecology 4th Edition for this course.
There's little information up except for what we will be marked on (3 exams and an essay). All I know is from what is mentioned on the course information page. It's essentially about organism populations and the ways they change over time including species interaction, disease, predation...
It says an important part of the class is "the quantitative methods and approaches used in population ecology to determine the status of populations and predict population behaviour.", however I will wait until more course information is revealed at the first lecture (which I will attend since unlike the other's, the lecturer informed me that it's pretty important and I need to be there to sign up to classes).

Eep, stats.

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