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Lismore Session 1 Session 1
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Unit Summary

Unit type

UG Coursework Unit

Credit points

12

AQF level

7

Level of learning

Intermediate

Pre-requisites

CHE00201 - Chemistry

Unit aim

Introduces the major physical, chemical and biological processes that control the concentration and dispersion of chemical elements in natural and impacted environments. Knowledge of these processes, the factors that control them, and the interactions between sediment/soil/rock, water, biota and the atmosphere are essential for scientifically sound environmental management and for distinguishing between natural conditions and human impacts. Introduces many of our environmental problems that are chemically based, but whose solution involves knowledge of geochemistry, biology, and engineering. Demonstrates how knowledge of natural processes and products can be applied in engineering projects to minimise human impact and remediate previously impacted sites.

Unit content

  • Chemistry of natural waters physico-chemical properties including pH, hardness, dissolved gases, dissolved ions.
  • Catchments, estuaries, oceans, atmosphere.
  • Aquatic chemistry of nutrients.
  • Toxic heavy metals: sources, speciation, biomagnification, bioaccumulation, bioavailability.
  • The geochemistry of clays and colloids: adsorption, desorption, and ion exchange.
  • Chemical and geochemical analytical techniques for analysing waters, biological samples, and sediments.
  • Introduction to acid sulfate soils.
  • Toxic organic substances: pesticides, organochlorines, herbicides.
  • The greenhouse effect and global warming: mechanisms of the greenhouse effect, major greenhouse gases, other substances that affect global warming, global warming to date. Energy use, CO2 emissions and their environmental consequences. Solar energy, alternative fuels and their environmental consequences.
  • The CO2/carbonate system. Ocean-atmosphere chemistry.
  • Waste and contaminated soil management: the nature of hazardous wastes, soils and sediments.
  • Ecotoxicology - organism response to pollutants.

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

GA1: Intellectual rigour, GA2: Creativity, GA3: Ethical practice, GA4: Knowledge of a discipline, GA5: Lifelong learning, GA6: Communication and social skills, GA7: Cultural competence
On completion of this unit, students should be able to: GA1 GA2 GA3 GA4 GA5 GA6 GA7
1 describe some of the major processes controlling the concentration and distribution of chemical elements and species in natural environments and understand the major controls on the transfer of chemical elements between sediment/soil/rock, water, biota and the atmosphere Intellectual rigour Knowledge of a discipline Lifelong learning
2 discuss aquatic chemistry and the concepts of biomagnification, bioaccumulation, toxicology and biotolerance as applied to major potential pollutants and to evaluate the ecological impact of selected pollutants such as nutrients Intellectual rigour Knowledge of a discipline Lifelong learning
3 describe some of the analytical techniques for evaluating and interpreting chemical analytical data from environmental assessment and monitoring programmes and the relationship between background concentrations and anomalies Intellectual rigour Knowledge of a discipline Lifelong learning
4 conduct properly replicated field work and interpret results Intellectual rigour Knowledge of a discipline
5 explain the concepts of bioremediation and green chemistry Intellectual rigour Knowledge of a discipline
6 demonstrate their enquiring mind through an understanding of chemistry in nature Intellectual rigour Knowledge of a discipline Lifelong learning
7 selectively extract, evaluate, and record relevant information from written and spoken presentations. Intellectual rigour Lifelong learning

On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. describe some of the major processes controlling the concentration and distribution of chemical elements and species in natural environments and understand the major controls on the transfer of chemical elements between sediment/soil/rock, water, biota and the atmosphere
    • GA1: Intellectual rigour
    • GA4: Knowledge of a discipline
    • GA5: Lifelong learning
  2. discuss aquatic chemistry and the concepts of biomagnification, bioaccumulation, toxicology and biotolerance as applied to major potential pollutants and to evaluate the ecological impact of selected pollutants such as nutrients
    • GA1: Intellectual rigour
    • GA4: Knowledge of a discipline
    • GA5: Lifelong learning
  3. describe some of the analytical techniques for evaluating and interpreting chemical analytical data from environmental assessment and monitoring programmes and the relationship between background concentrations and anomalies
    • GA1: Intellectual rigour
    • GA4: Knowledge of a discipline
    • GA5: Lifelong learning
  4. conduct properly replicated field work and interpret results
    • GA1: Intellectual rigour
    • GA4: Knowledge of a discipline
  5. explain the concepts of bioremediation and green chemistry
    • GA1: Intellectual rigour
    • GA4: Knowledge of a discipline
  6. demonstrate their enquiring mind through an understanding of chemistry in nature
    • GA1: Intellectual rigour
    • GA4: Knowledge of a discipline
    • GA5: Lifelong learning
  7. selectively extract, evaluate, and record relevant information from written and spoken presentations.
    • GA1: Intellectual rigour
    • GA5: Lifelong learning

Prescribed texts

  • No prescribed texts.
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.