The Terrestrial Ecology of Australia (1 credit)
This course examines the heritage of the terrestrial flora and fauna of Australia, and assumes a basic familiarity with the biology and ecology of terrestrial systems. The origins and uniqueness of Australia’s flora and fauna will be discussed in light of continental drift, as well as past and present Australian environments. The course combines lectures and field-based work with essays and research reports to develop knowledge of Australia’s unique terrestrial environments and to provide the skills with which to investigate them. Field activities include excursions to Stradbroke Island (a large sand island bearing mainly wallum vegetation) and the rainforest at Lamington National Park. A visit to an arid inland site gives students further opportunity to examine and explore aspects of terrestrial ecology shaped by the harsh environment.
The Marine Ecology of Australia (1 credit)
Students in this course are expected to have some familiarity with biological and ecological principles, sampling techniques and experimental design and statistics. The course draws together background knowledge of Australian marine systems and maritime resources with a variety of concepts and exercises in marine biology. The program takes participants from the rich diversity of the estuarine and coastal systems around Moreton Bay to Lady Elliot Island or Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef. It combines classroom lectures and field-based learning with essays and research reports to provide an understanding of tropical marine biology and ecology.
Australian Culture, Society, and Contemporary Issues (1 credit)
This overview of Australia draws upon the expertise of lecturers from a number of departments and programs (especially the Australian Studies Program and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Program) at the University of Queensland, as well as practitioners from a variety of fields. Among the topics that may be covered are: Aboriginal society and culture; European impact on the environment; sustainable agriculture and development; the Australian political system; the economy of Australia; health care and education; and nuclear weapons in the South Pacific. Discussions, journals, papers, and student presentations will provide a chance for reflection on the similarities and differences between the cultures of Australia and the United States.
Sustainability Down Under (1 credit)
In this course, students will consider the native and modern day beliefs, practices, and policies about sustainability and conservation in Australia and New Zealand. Students will develop a working definition of sustainability for both countries and document ways in which their practices differ. In developing a definition of sustainability, we will learn about attitudes and policies related to energy, land and water use. We will discuss public attitudes towards recycling and waste handling, global climate change, and transportation options. Topics and issues discussed in the course will provide an additional focus for the field excursions as students will be able to compare and contrast what they experience in urban Brisbane with their experiences in other areas of both Australia and New Zealand.