SLE349 - Catchments to Coasts: Ecological Health


2021 unit information

Enrolment modes: Trimester 2: Warrnambool
Credit point(s): 1
Previously coded as:


EFTSL value: 0.125




Incompatible with:


Study commitment

Students will on average spend 150 hours over the teaching period undertaking the teaching, learning and assessment activities for this unit.

Scheduled learning activities - campus

2 x 1 hour class per week, four self-directed learning tasks, 4 x 3 hour practicals per trimester, and a 1-day field trip.


This unit provides an overview of the physical, biological and ecological links between freshwater, estuarine and marine environments, and the impacts of catchment scale processes on these highly connected ecosystems. Specifically, this unit describes the physical connectivity between freshwater, estuarine and marine environments, and the ecological impacts of catchment disturbances extending from rivers to our oceans (deforestation and riparian loss, water extraction and regulation, agricultural practices, artificial estuary opening and artificial barriers to migration). Students are introduced to the functional roles and structure of catchment communities (bacteria, algae, macrophytes, invertebrates and vertebrates), and the abiotic factors (climate and geology) that shape the geomorphology and hydrology of our catchments. Particular attention is given towards understanding how interactions between species and their environment influence catchment health (water quality, nutrient cycling and eutrophication, stratification, pH buffering capacity), developing practical skills for assessing catchment health (signal ecosystem health evaluation, rapid bio-assessment, Index of stream condition) and implementing effective management strategies (Estuary Entrance Management Support System, ecological restoration, advisory documentation).

Unit Fee Information

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