Australia: Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology
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Previous college-level coursework and/or other significant preparation in environmental studies, ecology, biology, or related fields, as assessed by SIT.
The interdisciplinary coursework in the Australia: Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology program is designed to develop students' knowledge and appreciation of the species- and systems-level ecological patterns, processes, and human influences affecting the Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef bioregions. Topics for examination include marine ecology; geomorphology and management issues; rainforest ecology and conservation; Aboriginal perspectives on the environment; and Green politics in Australia. Throughout the semester, students participate in a variety of research and cultural activities and learn from researchers, professionals, practitioners, and community experts. During the final five weeks of the semester, students leverage their field study experience and research skills to conduct an Independent Study Project (ISP).
The following syllabi are from a recent or upcoming semester of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of unique learning opportunities, actual course content varies from semester to semester. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer.
Read more about credit transfer.
Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology Seminar - syllabus (PDF)
(ENVI 3000 / 6 credits / 90 class hours)
An interdisciplinary course with lectures, discussions, and required readings that develop students’ knowledge and appreciation of the species- and systems-level ecological patterns, processes, and human influences affecting the Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef bioregions. Resources utilized in the delivery of course content may include the Lizard Island Research Station, Wet Tropics Management Authority, and Aboriginal elders.
Environmental Field Study Seminar - syllabus (PDF)
(ENVI 3500 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
A course in research methods in both the social and natural sciences. The main focus is on learning how to collect, analyze, integrate, and report social and ecological data. Students will develop the capacity for critical understanding and evaluation of program-related environmental issues. The seminar is a springboard for the Independent Study Project, which includes consideration of field study ethics and the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy. Field studies include designing and implementing reef and rainforest research projects, writing a research proposal, interviewing, surveying, and maintaining a field journal. Specific ecological field study methods may include micro- and macro-habitat analysis, biotic sampling and analysis, fauna and flora identification, biodiversity monitoring, population analysis, animal behavior, climatic analysis, and remote sensing.
Independent Study Project - syllabus (PDF)
(ISPR 3000 / 6 credits / 180 class hours)
Conducted in an approved location appropriate to the project. Sample topic areas: the feeding behavior of the platypus; recovery of coral deposits from temperature-induced stress; feeding ecology of coral reef fishes; integrated catchment management; reforestation corridors as habitat; conservation issues affecting koalas and Tasmanian devils; wet sclerophyll fire regimes; environmental education; effects of education on public perceptions of flying foxes; acoustic conditioning of coral reef fishes.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Cairns
Prerequisites: Coursework in environmental studies, ecology, biology, or related fields, as assessed by SIT. Read more...
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