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Unit of study_

ENSC2001: Environmental Monitoring

Human population growth is causing irreversible change to almost all environments on earth. The extent of human change has been so great that a new geological epoch, the anthropocene, has been defined. Global warming, the introduction of pollutants and excessive use of nutrients are stressors affecting the biodiversity and resilience of ecosystems, and pose threats to human and environmental health. These human impacts carefully need to be monitored to guide appropriate management of urban, natural and agricultural systems. In this unit you will learn about transport pathways of pollutants, bioaccumulation, environmental toxicology (e.g., LD50 values), environmental monitoring and remediation techniques. Through lectures, laboratories and group work, concepts and methods of environmental monitoring will be illustrated and discussed including findings from the latest research. You will participate in structured practical exercises and field trips where you will apply sampling techniques and analyses to monitor ecosystem functioning. You will interpret the results and assess what the implications are for the ecological functioning and sustainable management of the environment. These hands-on exercises will be complemented with case-studies to guide you in critically analysing and evaluating environmental monitoring data. By taking this unit, you will acquire the necessary skills and knowledge in monitoring sites impacted by human activity.

Code ENSC2001
Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge:
Understanding of scientific principles and concepts including biodiversity, human impacts on the environment, properties of substances (e.g., acidity, alkalinity, solvents) and basic knowledge of statistics

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. explain the importance of environmental monitoring in urban, natural and managed ecosystems
  • LO2. identify measures of exposure and bioaccumulation of pollutants and nutrients in organisms
  • LO3. apply bio-indicators and biodiversity indices to assess ecosystem functioning and health
  • LO4. define remediation techniques for sites with specific pollution problems
  • LO5. design sampling strategies to assess the risk of specific sites to human and environmental health
  • LO6. carry out sampling and analyses of air, water and soil samples
  • LO7. evaluate environmental monitoring data and guidelines
  • LO8. communicate environmental monitoring results to a range of audiences.

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 1 week before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.