University of Technology Sydney

91370 Semi-arid Ecology

6cp; face-to-face block mode, 14-day field excursion to far western NSW in July with assessment tasks several weeks before, during and after the excursion; it is a requirement that students attend the sheduled orientation meeting (date and location found via the online UTS Timetable Planner) before attending the session; 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

Requisite elaboration/waiver:

Faculty Approval required

Recommended studies:

a thorough knowledge of basic 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 is an excursion-based subject run by the School of the Life Sciences at UTS. Its focus is a 14-day field trip (the 'Great Western' excursion) to the semi-arid and arid regions of western New South Wales. This field trip alternates on a three-year rotation with 91371 Forest and Mountain Ecology (the 'Great Northern') and 91163 Alpine and Lowland Ecology (the 'Great Southern').

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.