Areas of Study
Aquaculture is the cultivation of marine and freshwater plants and animals, and it includes industries such as fish farming, oyster and pearl cultivation, and the production of prawns and freshwater crayfish. Aquaculture is the world's fastest growing primary industry and supplies more than 40% of the world's fish. Sustainable aquaculture is essential in providing protien to the world's growing population and its development is central to preventing over harvest of wild populations and habitat destruction.
Ecology & Conservation
Ecology is the study of plant and animal distributions and their interactions with each other and their environment. General ecological principles apply in all environments and they form the basis of JCU's Ecology programs. A good understanding of plant and animal biology is also required, including an appreciation of the natural history of organisms, and of environmental factors such as climate and topography, which help define habitats. Thus ecology may be separated by habitats - e.g. rainforest ecology or marine ecology. Similarly, the study of ecology may be focused at various scales, such as populations of individual species, communities, whole ecosystems, catchments or landscapes. It may involve field observations and field or laboratory experiments. Studies in conservation biology are tightly linked with an understanding of ecology. Conservation deals with sustainable management of natural systems, species and communities, and the theory behind it. It is crucial to maintaining biodiversity and all the ecosystem processes on which the world depends. This is especially important in the richly biodiverse tropics, particularly in the face of climate change, environmental pollution and deforestation. Students in this program undertake detailed studies in a variety of habitats to gain an understanding of how each works and the ecologicial and conservation implications.
Marine Biology and Marine Science
Marine biologists study the living resources of the world's oceans and coastal seas. JCU's Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology) students benefit from the unique learning environment of the tropics, whose waters support rich and diverse biological communities. Training in marine biology is central to understanding, protecting and managing these diverse ecosystems and evaluating human impact on the marine environment.
Marine science is the interdisciplinary study of the marine environment bringing together elements of marine biology, oceanography, marine geoscience and environmental management. Marine scientists explore the make-up and dynamics of the world's oceans and use their skills to investigate and manage human impacts on the marine environment; understand and utilise ocean resources; and manage and protect our marine reserves.
Plants are essential to the survival of all life on Earth, indeed in numerous ways our future will be dictated by how well we can manage and harness plant resources around the world. Maintaining plant biodiversity promises better global futures for the inhabitants of natural ecosystems along with the benefits to be gained from finding new plant based biotechnology products such as pharmaceuticals, building materials and foods. Undertaking a Bachelor of Science with a major in Plant Science at James Cook University will equip you with a world class training in the fundamentals of basic and applied plant science. Our undergraduate program is actively informed by research our staff conduct and include themes such as ecology, ecophysiology, systematics, genetics, evolution, agroecology and novel crop development. Typically subjects contain a strong field component in rainforest, savannah and arid environments. Staff in the School have research strengths in marine, rainforest and other tropical ecosystems and are applying their research to solve problems at local and global scales such as research to investigate the impacts of climate change on plants and the communities they form. Plant Science also complements the majority of other Bachelor of Science Majors enhancing training in the ecological, physical or molecular sciences. Our graduates have skills that may be applied across the environmental based employment sector and experience a high rate of employment.
Zoology is the study of the animal world: the ecology, evolution, physiology and behaviour of everything from protozoans to whales. It takes you from the laboratory to wide-ranging field studies. We investigate what animals are, where and how they adapt to their environments, how they react to environmental changes, and how they interact with plants and other animals. Zoology students can specialise in the following areas: - conservation biology, animal behaviour and behavioural ecology, ecophysiology, evolutionary genetics, wildlife biology and management. Zoologists work in ecological, educational and conservation related fields including national park management, faunal assessment and species conservation, pest and disease control, university teaching and research, museum collecting and research in zoos and as self-employed consultants.