University of Technology Sydney

91168 Molecular Ecology

6cp; 2hpw (face-to-face blended learning), 3hpw (practicals)
Requisite(s): 91123 Biocomplexity AND 65111 Chemistry 1


Molecular genetic techniques for answering questions about ecological processes and human interactions with the biosphere are rapidly becoming integrated into many fields. Careers as diverse as conservation and environmental management, disease and human health research, fisheries management, biosecurity and environmental diagnostics are now requiring a strong understanding of molecular genetic approaches.

Specific molecular techniques have been developed to answer ecological questions such as: What is the structure of a population? How are species/individuals related to one another and how do they evolve? Where and when can a problem species in water/land/soil/food be found, and how can we detect it more rapidly? What is the genetic basis of specific traits, like growth, fecundity, photosynthesis, behaviour, secondary metabolite production?

On the other side, ecological and evolutionary approaches are fast becoming central to determining the emergence of infectious diseases. A working understanding of ecological experimental design and analysis is essential for those working in environmental health. This subject is of great benefit to students of environmental, conservation and marine sciences, as well as those studying human and animal health. With a strong emphasis on participation and practical and industry applications, students learn how to apply specific techniques to suit the situation, design approaches to suit a question and interpret molecular genetic data for a multitude of contexts.

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