The School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES) incorporates many fields of research covering the study of Biological Science (Biology), Earth Science (Geology), Geochemistry, Geography, and Marine Science. Read below for a description of what each research field is and what we cover in the associated majors within our Bachelor degrees.
Biological Science (Biology)
Biology is the study of life and living organisms, exploring how animals and plants function, evolve and relate to one another as well as to the environements in which they live. The School of BEES offers expertise in the fields of zoology, animal behaviour, plant and animal morphology, taxonomy and physiology, evolutionary science, marine and terrestrial ecology, and marine biology. These are particularly relevant to careers in wildlife management, agriculture, forestry, conservation and related environmental sciences.
Earth Science (Geology)
Earth Science is the science of planet Earth. The science and skills of geology are used in the search for, and development of, mineral and energy resources; identification of natural hazards and solutions to environmental problems; engineering site investigations; and groundwater studies. Geologists in BEES study the nature and evolution of the structure of our planet, covering everything from natural crystals and fossils to the powerful forces that drive earthquakes and volcanoes and move continents across the globe. Almost everything we do involves the Earth in some way. The School of BEES offers expertise in the fields of environmental geology, geochemistry, geophysics, hydrogeology and groundwater contamination, mineral and petroleum exploration and resources, palaeontology, remote sensing and much more. Field work in different regions of New South Wales is an essential part of our geology courses. A major in Geology develops skills which may lead to a wide range of exciting and highly-paid careers involving the use of sophisticated technology and exploration at interesting destinations all around the world.
Ecology is the science of the relationships between organisms and their environments. To conserve our natural environment we need to understand ecology: how animals and plants interact with one another as well as their environment, either on land or in the sea. As an ecology student, you will explore the very nature of life, including the interactions among organisms, their environmental relationships and the diversity, scarcity and management of species, communities and ecosystems.
Geochemistry is a broad discipline that integrates the knowledge and skills derived from various areas of science to investigate the source, fate and geochemical behaviour of various materials and the processes involved in geochemical systems operating in natural and human-altered environments. Geochemistry contributes to the discovery and use of resources, sustainable development and the control or remediation of environmental pollution.
Modern geography is a problem-based discipline that examines environmental systems and human societies as they impinge on the earth, resources and environmental management. It provides the skills required for formulating equitable and sustainable development both in Australia and overseas. Understanding modern geography is fundamental to the competent investigation of key problems with the natural and built environments. Geography courses in BEES provide training in field research techniques, and in holistic approaches to environmental and social problems. Courses include coastal zone management, social and demographic change, urban environmental issues, ecology and biogeography, cultural diversity, environmental impact assessment, land and water management, soil degradation and conservation, environment and development, remote sensing and geographical information systems (GIS). Training in geography develops a broad range of insights in environmental, economic and demographic areas and, as a consequence, career opportunities include jobs in earth or environmental sciences, natural resource management, community development, agriculture, urban and social planning.
As the ocean covers more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, an understanding of the processes and hazards associated with the coastal and oceanic environment is essential. Biologists, geologists and oceanographers are interested to learn more about the seas so that we can both use and protect this valuable resource. Marine and Coastal studies offer a unique opportunity to study across these diverse areas of science by focusing on both physical and biological aspects of the marine environment. Marine Science looks at all aspects of the marine environment, encompassing many sciences from biology to geology. Within the School of BEES, Marine Science can be studied with an emphasis on biology, ecology, earth sciences, environmental chemistry, oceanography or physical oceanography. Marine biologists look at life on the shore and in oceans and estuaries, and will work with geologists (studying the topography of the ocean floor, sediments and marine resources), with physical oceanographers (studying the waves, currents and tides; or chemists (studying the chemical composition of seawater). These collaborative research programs answer questions about the effect of pollution on marine ecosystems and the relationship between ocean currents and weather.