Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions (ENSY3001)


This unit of study is designed to allow students to examine the exchange of carbon, water, energy and greenhouse gases between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere, with particular focus on environmental and land use change. It is a core unit for students in BEnvSys and builds on knowledge gained in ENSY2001, SOIL2003, LWSC2002 and PLNT2003. Students will develop an integrative understanding of the physical, chemical and biological processes that govern interactions between terrestrial landscapes and the atmosphere, drawing on examples from both managed and natural ecosystems. Students will apply state-of-the-art measurement techniques to quantify and interpret regulation of exchange processes, and develop a simple environmentally-driven, process-based model of exchange. At the end of this unit, students will be able to 1) evaluate the effects of land use change and environmental change on processes regulating the exchange of greenhouse gases between the biosphere and atmosphere; 2) perform a controlled-environment experiment to demonstrate links between carbon and water cycles, then analyse and interpret results; 3) design and implement a process-based model of exchange of carbon, water and energy between the biosphere and atmosphere to predict ecosystem response to environmental change by integrating environmental data, mathematical models and model parameters. The students will gain research and inquiry skills through a practical group project, communication skills through workshops, group discussions and an oral presentation, and information literacy through web-based literature searches and computer model development.

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Further unit of study information


2h lecture/discussion per week, 5 x 5h practicals alternate weeks, 1 x 2-day fieldtrip.


One oral presentation (15%), one 2000w essay (20%), one practical report (30%), one model and report (35%)


Students will be drawing on current research literature for content.

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

Assumed knowledge: SOIL2003, LWSC2002, LWSC3007, PLNT2003, ENSY2001

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Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.

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