University of Technology Sydney

91163 Alpine and Lowland Ecology

6cp; face-to-face block mode, 11-day field excursion to southern NSW on 3–13 December with assessment tasks several weeks before, during and after the excursion; it is a requirement that students attend the two scheduled orientation meetings (date and locations found via the online UTS Timetable Planner) before attending the excursion
Requisite(s): 91110 Experimental Design and Sampling AND 91154 Ecology


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 subject (the 'Great Southern') is an excursion-based subject run every third winter by the School of Life Sciences at UTS. The Great Southern is an 11-day excursion in the lowland, tableland, sub-alpine and alpine regions of New South Wales that alternates on a three-year rotation with 91371 Forest and Mountain Ecology (the 'Great Northern') and 91370 Semi-arid Ecology (the 'Great Western').

Worldwide, ecological processes and biota vary dramatically with altitude. Such an altitudinal gradient can be seen in Australia not far from Sydney. The route of this excursion goes from the lowest to the highest locations in Australia: sea level on the southeast coast to Mt Kosciuszko, the highest peak in the country. Along this gradient, students experience changes in flora, fauna, and ecology, driven by the climatic forces and other process that vary from the ocean to the mountains. Students compare heathlands at the top and the bottom of the range, the tall forests in between, and their associated fauna, aquatic systems and human use. They experience the major climatic driver of environmental change along this altitudinal gradient: temperature. They also learn how the interacting forces of rainfall, soil, slope, and aspect shape the ecological complexity.

Typical availability

Summer session
The next offering of this subject is in December 2019.


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

  • their year/level of study
  • course enrolled in
  • whether they have undertaken subject 91370 or 91371.

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.