APS231 Ecosystems in a Changing Global Environment

Level 2
Semester 1B
Credits 10
Pre/Co Requisites -
Recommended Requisites APS124
Teaching Staff Professor Colin Osborne, Dr Tom Webb
Co-ordinator Professor Colin Osborne


This unit will provide the opportunity for students to:
1. Review the importance of marine and terrestrial ecosystems and threats posed by human activities.
2. Evaluate how ecosystem processes may amplify or mitigate the impacts of environmental change.
3. Develop understanding of the fundamental principles of ecosystem science that underpin these responses to human perturbations.


Human impacts on the world’s ecosystems are profound and without precedent in Earth’s history. The urgent need to understand the impacts of overexploitation, land-use change and anthropogenic climate change has meant that ecosystem science has become one of the most important biological disciplines. This module will introduce students to the fundamental principles of ecosystem science by exploring human impacts on key marine and terrestrial ecosystems and their feedbacks on global climate. In doing so, it will cover the interacting roles of (1) climatic tolerance, trophic interactions, carbon sequestration and fire on land, and (2) biodiversity, energy, nutrients and extinction in the sea.

Delivery method: 16 lectures

Student contact hours: 16

Assessment method: 1 1/2 hour examination

Feedback: Students can receive feedback on performance in examinations by arranging a meeting with their personal tutor after mid-March.

Please go to MOLE for more information on APS231