University of Technology, Sydney

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91370 Semi-arid Ecology

6cp; block mode; 10–14-day field excursion to far western NSW in July every third year; availability: enrolment is restricted by the availability of space in vehicles, with preference given to third-year environmental science students
Requisite(s): 91110 Experimental Design and Sampling AND 91154 Ecology
Recommended studies: a thorough knowledge of basic ecology is a prerequisite for this subject


For anyone intending to work in environmental science, whether in an office or in the field, understanding the landscape and how it is shaped by climate and geological history is vital. This kind of understanding can only be gained successfully by experiencing the environment first hand.

This excursion-based subject (the 'Great Western') is run every third winter by the School of the Environment at UTS. It is a 14-day excursion in the semi-arid and arid regions of western New South Wales that alternates on a three-year rotation with 91371 Forest and Mountain Ecology (the 'Great Northern') and 91163 Alpine and Lowland Ecology (the 'Great Southern'). Each excursion is offered once every three years and the next offering of Semi-arid Ecology is in July 2018.

Many of the ecological processes and environmental issues associated with arid and semi-arid regions in Australia as well as globally can be found in New South Wales. This excursion extends as far west as the border with South Australia and as far north as Queensland. Semi-arid woodland and mulga scrub, arid shrublands and grasslands, ephemeral floodplains, salt pans and dune country are experienced. A core theme of this subject is the fragility of a system typified by low and/or unpredictable rainfall, extreme temperatures, nutrient-poor and skeletal soils, and the adaptations of the associated flora and fauna.

Typical availability

July session, City campus
This subject is offered once every three years, alternating with 91371 Forest and Mountain Ecology and 91163 Alpine and Lowland Ecology. It is next offered in July 2015.


Students wishing to enrol in this subject must email a request containing the following information to the Subject Coordinator, Dr Leigh Martin:

  • their year/level of study
  • course enrolled in
  • whether they have undertaken subject 91371 or 91163.

Detailed subject description.

Access conditions

Note: The requisite information presented in this subject description covers only academic requisites. Full details of all enforced rules, covering both academic and admission requisites, are available at access conditions and My Student Admin.