School: Science

This unit information may be updated and amended immediately prior to semester. To ensure you have the correct outline, please check it again at the beginning of semester.

  • Unit Title

    Physical Environments
  • Unit Code

    SCI1192
  • Year

    2017
  • Enrolment Period

    1
  • Version

    1
  • Credit Points

    15
  • Full Year Unit

    N
  • Mode of Delivery

    On Campus
  • Unit Co-ordinator

    Dr Eddie John VAN ETTEN

Description

This unit adopts an earth system science approach towards examining the origin and nature of physical environments. It examines interactions between subsystems including the biosphere, and the formation of key terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. Define how interactions between the physical subsystems influence the formation of ecosystems and biomes.
  2. Define the characteristics of the hydrosphere and its essential role in climate, natural and human systems.
  3. Identify the formation processes and dynamics of the geosphere, the tectonic cycle and interaction with other subsystems in the development of landscapes.
  4. Identify the nature and dynamics of the atmosphere, global and local atmospheric circulation patterns and climate systems.
  5. Recognise the interactions between the major physical subsystems of the Earth and outline the processes underlying global change.
  6. Recognise the nature of cycles, feedback processes and the movement of matter and energy in earth systems.

Unit Content

  1. Composition and internal structure of the earth: common minerals, rocks; the tectonic cycle; volcanic and seismic activity; weathering processes, regolith cycle and development of landscapes.
  2. Earth system science: types of systems, closed vs open systems; cycles and feedback within and between earth systems; internal and external energy sources; states and flux of earth's matter.
  3. Evolution of the atmosphere: composition and physics; wind and weather systems; global circulation, regional and local weather systems; past and present climate systems; changes in climate and feedbacks.
  4. Human interaction with the earth subsystems: resource use and reuse; nonrenewable resources; systems perspective of anthropogenic change, impacts and global change.
  5. Pathways in the hydrological cycle: water as a universal solvent; surface and subsurface water, flow, storage; water erosion and aggradation processes; land and sea ice in the earth system; glaciation, movement and change; ocean basins, circulation, wave motion, tides and changing sea levels.
  6. Physical and biotic subsystem interaction: formation of biomes and ecosystems; energy and matter exchange between open systems; material cycling and basic principles of biogeochemical cycling.

Teaching and Learning Processes

Lectures (including industry speakers), tutorials, laboratory and field work*
*(Students may be required to attend an off-campus field excursion at a time and date to be arranged.)

Assessment

GS1 GRADING SCHEMA 1 Used for standard coursework units

Students please note: The marks and grades received by students on assessments may be subject to further moderation. All marks and grades are to be considered provisional until endorsed by the relevant Board of Examiners.

ON CAMPUS
TypeDescriptionValue
AssignmentOn line quizzes20%
Laboratory WorkPractical tests and/or laboratory/field reports40%
ExaminationEnd of Semester Examination40%

Disability Standards for Education (Commonwealth 2005)

For the purposes of considering a request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Commonwealth 2005), inherent requirements for this subject are articulated in the Unit Description, Learning Outcomes and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the support for students with disabilities or medical conditions can be found at the Student Equity, Diversity and Disability Service website.

Academic Misconduct

Edith Cowan University has firm rules governing academic misconduct and there are substantial penalties that can be applied to students who are found in breach of these rules. Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • plagiarism;
  • unauthorised collaboration;
  • cheating in examinations;
  • theft of other students’ work;

Additionally, any material submitted for assessment purposes must be work that has not been submitted previously, by any person, for any other unit at ECU or elsewhere.

The ECU rules and policies governing all academic activities, including misconduct, can be accessed through the ECU website.

SCI1192|1|1

School: Science

This unit information may be updated and amended immediately prior to semester. To ensure you have the correct outline, please check it again at the beginning of semester.

  • Unit Title

    Physical Environments
  • Unit Code

    SCI1192
  • Year

    2017
  • Enrolment Period

    2
  • Version

    1
  • Credit Points

    15
  • Full Year Unit

    N
  • Mode of Delivery

    On Campus
    Online
  • Unit Co-ordinator

    Dr Eddie John VAN ETTEN

Description

This unit adopts an earth system science approach towards examining the origin and nature of physical environments. It examines interactions between subsystems including the biosphere, and the formation of key terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. Define how interactions between the physical subsystems influence the formation of ecosystems and biomes.
  2. Define the characteristics of the hydrosphere and its essential role in climate, natural and human systems.
  3. Identify the formation processes and dynamics of the geosphere, the tectonic cycle and interaction with other subsystems in the development of landscapes.
  4. Identify the nature and dynamics of the atmosphere, global and local atmospheric circulation patterns and climate systems.
  5. Recognise the interactions between the major physical subsystems of the Earth and outline the processes underlying global change.
  6. Recognise the nature of cycles, feedback processes and the movement of matter and energy in earth systems.

Unit Content

  1. Composition and internal structure of the earth: common minerals, rocks; the tectonic cycle; volcanic and seismic activity; weathering processes, regolith cycle and development of landscapes.
  2. Earth system science: types of systems, closed vs open systems; cycles and feedback within and between earth systems; internal and external energy sources; states and flux of earth's matter.
  3. Evolution of the atmosphere: composition and physics; wind and weather systems; global circulation, regional and local weather systems; past and present climate systems; changes in climate and feedbacks.
  4. Human interaction with the earth subsystems: resource use and reuse; nonrenewable resources; systems perspective of anthropogenic change, impacts and global change.
  5. Pathways in the hydrological cycle: water as a universal solvent; surface and subsurface water, flow, storage; water erosion and aggradation processes; land and sea ice in the earth system; glaciation, movement and change; ocean basins, circulation, wave motion, tides and changing sea levels.
  6. Physical and biotic subsystem interaction: formation of biomes and ecosystems; energy and matter exchange between open systems; material cycling and basic principles of biogeochemical cycling.

Teaching and Learning Processes

Lectures (including industry speakers), tutorials, laboratory and field work*
*(Students may be required to attend an off-campus field excursion at a time and date to be arranged.)

Assessment

GS1 GRADING SCHEMA 1 Used for standard coursework units

Students please note: The marks and grades received by students on assessments may be subject to further moderation. All marks and grades are to be considered provisional until endorsed by the relevant Board of Examiners.

ON CAMPUS
TypeDescriptionValue
AssignmentOn line quizzes20%
Laboratory WorkPractical tests and/or laboratory/field reports40%
ExaminationEnd of Semester Examination40%

Core Reading(s)

  • Skinner, B. J., & Murck, B. (2011). The blue planet : an introduction to earth system science. (3rd ed.). Hoboken, New Jersey: J. Wiley.

Disability Standards for Education (Commonwealth 2005)

For the purposes of considering a request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Commonwealth 2005), inherent requirements for this subject are articulated in the Unit Description, Learning Outcomes and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the support for students with disabilities or medical conditions can be found at the Student Equity, Diversity and Disability Service website.

Academic Misconduct

Edith Cowan University has firm rules governing academic misconduct and there are substantial penalties that can be applied to students who are found in breach of these rules. Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • plagiarism;
  • unauthorised collaboration;
  • cheating in examinations;
  • theft of other students’ work;

Additionally, any material submitted for assessment purposes must be work that has not been submitted previously, by any person, for any other unit at ECU or elsewhere.

The ECU rules and policies governing all academic activities, including misconduct, can be accessed through the ECU website.

SCI1192|1|2