Agroecosystems

AGROECOSYSTEMS

Agroecosystems program

A program in Agroecosystems requires 60 credit points from this table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 2000-level program core units, according to the following:
a) AGRI- and SOIL- coded units for students in the Animal Production major
b) GEGE- and SOIL- coded units for students in the Plant Production major
c) AGRI- and GEGE- coded units for students in the Soil Science and Hydrology major
(ii) A 48 credit point major in Animal Production, Plant Production or Soil Science and Hydrology.

Units of study

The units of study are listed below.

2000-level units of study

Program Core
GEGE2001 Genetics and Genomics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Jenny Saleeba Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: Two lectures per week; one 3-hour practical session per week; and one tutorial per fortnight Prohibitions: GENE2002 or MBLG2972 or GEGE2901 or MBLG2072 Assumed knowledge: Mendelian genetics; mechanisms of evolution; molecular and chromosomal bases of inheritance; and gene regulation and expression. Assessment: Assignments, quizzes and presentation (50%), final exam (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
The era of genomics has revolutionised our approach to biology. Recent breakthroughs in genetics and genomic technologies have led to improvements in human and animal health, in breeding and selection of economically important organisms and in the curation and care of wild species and complex ecosystems. In this unit, students will investigate/describe ways in which modern biology uses genetics and genomics to study life, from the unicellular through to complex multicellular organisms and their interactions in communities and ecosystems. This unit includes a solid foundation in classical Mendelian genetics and its extensions into quantitative and population genetics. It also examines how our ability to sequence whole genomes has changed our capacities and our understanding of biology. Links between DNA, phenotype and the performance of organisms and ecosystems will be highlighted. The unit will examine the profound insights that modern molecular techniques have enabled in the fields of developmental biology, gene regulation, population genetics and molecular evolution.
GEGE2901 Genetics and Genomics (Advanced)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Jenny Saleeba Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: Two lectures per week; one 3-hour practical session per week; and one tutorial per fortnight Prerequisites: Annual average mark of at least 70 Prohibitions: GENE2002 or MBLG2072 or GEGE2001 or MBLG2972 Assumed knowledge: Mendelian genetics, mechanisms of evolution, molecular and chromosomal bases of inheritance, and gene regulation and expression. Assessment: Assignments, quizzes, presentation, final exam Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
The era of genomics has revolutionised our approach to biology. Recent breakthroughs in genetics and genomic technologies have led to improvements in human and animal health, in breeding and selection of economically important organisms and in the curation and care of wild species and complex ecosystems. In this unit, students will investigate/describe ways in which modern biology uses genetics and genomics to study life, from the unicellular through to complex multicellular organisms and their interactions in communities and ecosystems. This unit includes a solid foundation in classical Mendelian genetics and its extensions into quantitative and population genetics. It also examines how our ability to sequence whole genomes has changed our capacities and our understanding of biology. Links between DNA, phenotype and the performance of organisms and ecosystems will be highlighted. The unit will examine the profound insights that modern molecular techniques have enabled in the fields of developmental biology, gene regulation, population genetics and molecular evolution. The Advanced mode of Genetics and Genomics will provide you with challenge and a higher level of academic rigour. You will have the opportunity to plan a project that will develop your skills in contemporary genetics/molecular biology techniques and will provide you with a greater depth of disciplinary understanding. The Advanced mode will culminate in a written report and/or in an oral presentation where you will discuss a recent breakthrough that has been enabled by the use of modern genetics and genomics technologies. This is a unit for anyone wanting to better understand the how genetics has shaped the earth and how it will shape the future.
AGRI2001 Plant Management in Agroecosystems

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Brett Whelan Session: Semester 1 Classes: Lectures two hours per week; tutorial three hours per week; three one day field trips Prohibitions: AGRO3004 Assumed knowledge: Understanding of experimental design and analysis including dependent and independent variables, random and representative sampling, t-tests a simple designs and interpretation of univariate analysis. Assessment: Quizzes, practical report, exam Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
World population is projected to reach 9 billion within 50 years and food production needs to double in a sustainable manner in order to feed human population. This profound challenge will be met by improving our knowledge and management of agroecosystems. This unit of study is designed to provide an introductory understanding of the biology and management of plants in dryland agroecosystems, with a focus on major Australian broad acre crops. Dryland agroecosystems can be defined as ecosystems modified for the purpose of producing crops, pastures and animals in environments where water limits productivity during part of the year (and are typical in Australian agriculture). These agroecosystems are characterised by regular agricultural interventions, such as cultivation, sowing, nutrient, weed, pest and disease management, and harvest. The program will involve developing an understanding of the interactions between the environment, crops/pastures and agricultural management in dryland agroecosystems. The model for describing and analysing agroecosystems will be centred on a typical cropping cycle, with an emphasis on cereals. You will gain knowledge and skills on crop physiological, growth and development responses to the combined climatic, edaphic, biotic and management factors in the growing environment. The unit will also provide a sound understanding and analysis of the practical farming framework in which this knowledge is applied through weed, disease and pest management, approaches to managing climate variability and precision agriculture. There will be a focus on assessing the effects of climate and weather in dryland agroecosystems, especially on understanding crop-water-nutrition relationships. Successful students will be able to appreciate and analyse the most important limitations to crop production and yield in Australia and how those limitations can be minimized or overcome through science-based planning and agronomic management practices.
Textbooks
Pratley J (Ed.) (2003) Principles of Field Crop Production. 4th edition. Oxford University Press: Melbourne, Australia. Marschner P (Ed) (2012) Marschner's Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants, 3rd edition. Elsevier, London Anderson WK, Garlinge JR (Eds) (2000) The Wheat Book. Department of Agriculture Western Australia: South Perth, Australia. Whelan, B.M., Taylor, J.A. (2013) Precision Agriculture for Grain Production Systems. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, Australia. Pearson CJ, Ison RL (1998) Agronomy of Grassland Systems. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, New York, Melbourne.
SOIL2005 Soil and Water: Earth's Life Support Systems

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Balwant Singh Session: Semester 1 Classes: Lectures: 3 hours per week; lab: 3 hours per week for 10 weeks Prohibitions: SOIL2003 or LWSC2002 Assessment: Field excursion: attendance and creative assessment (5%), the attendance at the excursion is compulsory to get any mark for this assessment task; quiz: (10%); written assignment: modelling assessment including modelling (15%); laboratory report: group oral presentation and written assignment (20%); final exam: written exam (50%) Practical field work: Approximately eight hours working field at Cobbitty Farm Wk 0 (Friday, 22 Feb 2019) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Soil and water are the two most essential natural resources on the Earth's surface which influence all forms of terrestrial life. This unit of study is designed to introduce students to the fundamental properties and processes of soil and water that affect food security and sustain ecosystems. These properties and processes are part of the grounding principles that underpin crop and animal production, nutrient and water cycling, and environmental sustainability. You will participate in a field excursion to examine soils in a landscape to develop knowledge and understanding of soil properties, water storage, water movement and cycling of organic carbon and nutrients in relation to food production and ecosystem functioning. At the end of this unit you will be able to articulate and quantify the factors and processes that determine the composition and behaviour of soil, composition of water, soil water storage and the movement of water on the land surface. You will also be able to describe the most important properties of soil and water for food production and sustaining ecosystem functions and link this to human and climatic factors. The field excursion, report and laboratory/computer exercises have been designed to develop communication, team work and collaborative efforts.
Textbooks
Brady, N.C. and Ray R. Weil. (2007). The Nature and Properties of Soils. 14th Edition, Prentice Hall, New Jersey. White, R.E. (2006) Principles and Practice of Soil Science: the Soil as a Natural Resource. 4th ed., Blackwell Science, Oxford. Diana H. Wall, Richard D. Bardgett, Valerie Behan-Pelletier, Jeffrey E. Herrick, T. Hefin Jones, Karl Ritz, Johan Six, Donald R. Strong, and Wim H. van der Putten (Eds.) (2012). Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services. Oxford University Press, ISBN: 9780199575923. Kutllek, M and Nielsen, D.R. (2015). Soil: The Skin of the Planet Earth, Springer, ISBN: 978-94-017-9788-7 (Print) 978-94-017-9789-4 (Online). Gordon, N. D., McMahon, T. A., Finlayson, B. L., Gippel, C. J., and Nathan, R. J. (2004) Stream Hydrology: an Introduction for Ecologists, John Wiley and Sons Inc.