Biology & Environmental Sciences
When it comes to studying in the areas of science and the environment, ECU's world‑class research in environmental science (ERA, 2010) and recognised excellence in teaching (The Good Universities Guide, 2012) leaves other universities green with envy.
You'll find a range of practical degrees that can lead to distinctly different careers in fields such as conservation, marine and freshwater biology, environmental management, conservation and wildlife biology, chemistry, surf science and more.
Science Opportunities Taking Our Students Places
Bachelor of Science graduate Dirk Holman is one of a number of students who has had the opportunity to travel the country as a result of studying Science at ECU.
Dirk specialised in Surf Science and has recently completed his Honours thesis on the Great White shark, allowing him to get up close and personal with what is arguably many people's greatest fear.
Real-World ExperienceOur students are immersed in a stimulating and highly supportive teaching and learning environment.All courses are structured to have a strong practical component and most include a requirement for students to undertake work experience in a relevant organisation.
Industry professionals regularly give lectures, and students are exposed to "real-world" experiences in the classroom, laboratories and on field trips. Our students also get the chance to conduct research that will benefit the community and environment.
The Science Experience
Year 9 and 10 students from around Western Australia are able to experience first-hand what it is like to study in one of ECU's state‑of‑the‑art laboratories.
Escorted around campus by current budding ECU scientists and ECU staff, students participating in "The ECU Joondalup Science Experience" can also wade into the campus lake to collect wildlife, wear lab coats to conduct chemistry experiments and get close to live reptiles.
Our Science students and researchers have access to excellent facilities and equipment in the University's state‑of‑the‑art, award‑winning, $28 million Science and Health building.
The building includes a range of environmentally‑friendly features to reduce energy consumption, by maximising the use of rainwater, solar energy and natural light. The principles of sustainability are also reflected in its design.
Salt ponds as habitat for shorebirds
A Master Research Agreement between Rio Tinto Dampier Salt Ltd and ECU has paved the way for a series of exciting new postgraduate research opportunities in Australia's northwest for students in our Environmental Science and Biological Science disciplines.
Professor Pierre Horwitz and his colleagues in our School of Natural Sciences have established two research programs for PhD, Masters by Research and Honours students, amounting to nearly $1m in funding for scholarships, salaries and research support for the next three and a half years.
Among the research programs will be an investigation into the feeding ecology and habitat use of migratory and other shorebirds utilising Dampier Salt operations. The focus will be on habitat selection, feeding behaviour and foraging resources present at the salt sites and how these are influenced by, or related to Dampier Salt operations. This will be in a comparative context with other important shorebird sites in the region because North-Western Australia is a critical stage of the East Asia-Australasia Flyway for migratory and other shorebirds.
This work will provide information to assist in the management of the salt works to minimise negative impacts on shorebirds and to highlight positive effects on shorebird feeding. Together all projects will build knowledge and capacity in the field of salt ponds and internationally significant saline ecosystems, ensuring their appropriate management.
Teaching & learning excellence
We are committed to teaching and learning excellence and boasts a five star rating for Teaching Quality and Graduate Satisfaction in the 2011 Good Universities Guide.
In the areas of teaching quality, generic skills and overall satisfaction for Science and Environmental Studies areas, the guide's ratings place ECU in the top 5 nationally.
"My lecturers were passionate and committed."
"What excited me about Marine and Freshwater Management was that the learning modes were so diverse: Lecturers provide the literature and essential readings; Laboratory sessions allowed us to develop scientific skills; And field trips provided the opportunity to apply our learning into the real world. I never imagined uni would involve SCUBA exploration! As far as the staff went, I found them passionate and committed. They were always available and supportive - whenever you happened to need them. In fact I enjoyed the 'ECU experience' so much that I've decided to stay on for postgraduate studies!"
Marine and Freshwater Biology Honours student
Hundreds of high school students visit ECU for LABRATS
Year 10 students from around Western Australia are able to experience first-hand what it is like to study in one of our state‑of‑the‑art laboratories.
Escorted around campus by current budding ECU scientists, students participating in the 'LabRats' program can experience a mock oil spill clean up, take and test samples for the campus lake and even conduct DNA testing.
This annual event has been running for a decade and allows hundreds of local students each year to experience some of the many exciting topics they are able to study at ECU.
Spatial modelling WA's biodiversity
Centre for Ecosystem Management PhD student Shaun Molloy has undertaken a project to determine if proximity based landscape modelling tools are relevant and effective in the management of particular fauna species within the context of the fragmented landscapes of south western WA.
Using computer software that measures and evaluates landscape connectivity through the spatial relationships that exist between patches of remnant vegetation, Shaun is investigating the landscape requirements of a group of widespread species and finding ways to map, or predict, these requirements.
He is also examining the strengths and limitations of current spatial modelling tools and investigating ways in which spatial modelling can be applied, or made more effective, in meeting the requirements of the region's unique landscapes and species.
"My course allows me to do things most people only dream of."
"The Biological Sciences course at ECU has given me a good understanding of the fundamental concepts of biology and how they connect with, and help me critically analyse, the results from advanced research. Fieldwork is an important part of my course. I’ve helped with reptile surveys and research projects all over the state. These opportunities took me to stunning areas of WA, including the Kimberley, and allowed me to get up close and personal with elusive species of native fauna that most people don’t even know exist."
Biological Sciences Masters student