Courses & Units

Ecology of Ecosystems KPZ307


This unit is all about the study of how ecosystems function, which gives it great relevance from scientific and management perspectives. We will examine the processes that operate in terrestrial and aquatic communities and ecosystems from both a theoretical and practical point of view. The seminar series gives a thorough theoretical background into the development of ideas concerning community and ecosystem-level processes, including the importance of such factors as biodiversity and climate change in maintaining healthy, functioning ecosystems. In the face-to-face practical component, which is largely based in the field, students learn by doing, assessing risks and working appropriately and safely, sampling communities and doing experiments, as well as analysing and interpreting results. The field-based activities feed directly into assessment tasks with some criteria assessed during the field practical classes. This unit is a required part of an ecology major.


Unit name Ecology of Ecosystems
Unit code KPZ307
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Sciences and Engineering
School of Natural Sciences
Discipline Biological Sciences
Coordinator Professor Mark Hovenden
Available as an elective? Yes
Delivered By University of Tasmania
Level Advanced


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 1 On-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 1 26/2/2024 22/3/2024 15/4/2024 2/6/2024

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (refer to How do I withdraw from a unit? for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2024 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2024 will be available from the 1st October 2023. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • design and apply appropriate methods for studying ecosystem patterns and processes
  • explain the various theories of how communities are assembled and how this affects ecosystem function
  • design and analyse basic ecological experiments and explain their role in modern community and ecosystem ecology
  • describe the flow of nutrients and energy through ecosystems and predict the impacts of environmental perturbations on these flows
  • present ecological theories, data and results in the form of written scientific manuscripts.

Fee Information

The 2024 Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) rates are still being finalised by the Government and we will update the domestic fee information as soon as we have more details.



KZA211 Population and Community Ecology OR KPA214 Plants in Action OR KPZ211 Population and Community Ecology

Mutual Exclusions

You cannot enrol in this unit as well as the following:



Teaching Pattern

1 x 2-hr on campus face-to-face seminar weekly (recorded) and 1 x 4-hr practical weekly including four practical sessions in the field, two full-day field trips.

AssessmentDecomposition analysis (10%)|Field work risk and competence (10%)|Community analysis report (40%)|Examination (40%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Mittelbach, G.G., McGill, B.J., 2019. Community Ecology, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

LinksBooktopia textbook finder

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