ENM413 The Principles and Practice of Field Ecology (8)

This subject comprises of an extended field trip. Students are given the opportunity to learn the fundamental principles of ecology in an applied, real-world setting. In addition to repeatability, objectivity and other aspects of study design, students learn the importance of ethical and animal welfare considerations. Students learn how to synthesise information from primary and secondary sources, identify gaps in our current ecological understanding of key areas, and translate these knowledge gaps into a series of testable questions. Students are given opportunities to overcome logistical and conceptual challenges in the field, enhancing their problem solving skills and abilities to work as part of a team. Students completing this subject have the ability to conduct scientific research, situate new knowledge gathered from the field within the context of existing knowledge and communicate their findings to a range of audiences in a professional manner. They also gain an appreciation of how the links between ecology, natural resource management and conservation on and off-park can inform a broader understanding of the environmental management.

Please note that there is a selection process conducted by the School of Environmental Sciences to determine enrolment in this subject. Students should not enrol in this subject unless they have submitted an expression of interest and subsequently been advised by the School of Environmental Sciences that they have been selected. Accommodation, food and transport costs are associated with this subject.

No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2021.

Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Environmental Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

Students must be enrolled in a course offered by the Faculty of Science.

Students who have completed  ENM310 may not enrol in this subject.

Subject Relationships

ENM310 Paired Subject

Incompatible Subjects


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the principles, practice and issues associated with field ecology
  • be able to develop a sound research proposal, including sourcing background information, preparation for field study, and implementing a research plan
  • be able to conduct scientific research and gather data from the field including the collation and analysis of results from the field
  • be able to situate new knowledge gathered from the field within the context of existing knowledge and prior studies to communicate their findings in a professional manner


This subject will cover the following topics:

The syllabus is dependent upon the area or bioregion in focus and may change depending on the skills and abilities of the Subject Coordinator. Each student will however:
1. undertake a 'desktop' investigation of an area/bioregion in the preparation for, the planning of, and implementation of a field study within that area;
2. employ appropriate research, documentation, evaluation, and reporting methodologies for documenting the success or otherwise of planning, implementing, and reporting on a field study
3. develop a research proposal and implement appropriate research methods to investigate one environmental issue within the region;
4. critically evaluate the concerns, strategies and processes that occurred on their field trip;
5. provide a written report on their scientific study from the field that places the new knowledge found within the context of existing knowledge.

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of ENM413 in Term 2 2019. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Wikipedia article
Field notebook
Group participation
Project proposal

Special Resources

The major activity associated with this subject is a field trip to remote areas of north-western NSW and adjoining areas in western Queensland.  Due to restrictions in the availability of suitable accommodation enrolment numbers in the subject must be restricted. The mechanism used to restrict enrolments is an expression of interest and criteria based selection process.  Accommodation, food and transport costs are associated with this subject.

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.