Aquatic Ecology and Management

Learn how to manage aquatic ecosystems to reduce human impact.


Aquatic Ecology and Management is a large topic spanning swamps, lakes, rivers and estuaries. It incorporates many disciplines, including botany, geography, chemistry, geology, hydrology, zoology, physics. Important issues include drought, water resource management, aquatic habitat destruction, and threatened species protection.

Students will acquire the skills needed to understand and manage aquatic ecosystems. They will learn how to reduce our impacts on our wetlands, rivers and estuaries.

aquatic ecology research in the lab

Why Study Aquatic Ecology at UNE?

Our location in the North Coast region of NSW means we have a wide diversity of aquatic systems at our doorstep. Upland swamps, cobble streams and huge waterfalls in pristine National Parks lead to populated lowland rivers and estuaries in one of Australia's fastest developing regions. Heading west we find the expanse of the Murray-Darling Basin, and its regulated lowland rivers and semi-arid climate. Students wishing to specialise in this area are offered units in Aquatic Ecology, Freshwater Ecology and Management, Hydrology, Ecosystem Rehabilitation, and Pollution Management. Postgraduate students can take advantage of our breadth of research expertise of staff, strategic location in northern NSW and extensive range of field and laboratory facilities.


ECOL100 - Ecology: Concepts and Applications
ECOL202/402 - Aquatic Ecology
ECOL203/ 403 - Ecology - Populations to Ecosystems
ECOL204/404 - Ecological Methods
ECOL300 - The Research Process
EM351/ 551 - Ecosystem Rehabilitation
ENGT352 - Principles of Hydrology
ERS501 - Applied Research Skills in Environmental and Rural Science
GEPL311 - Catchment to Coast
RSNR110 - Sustaining Our Rural Environment I
RSNR301/501 - Pollution Management
RSNR302/ 402 /502 - Integrated Water Resource Management
SCI500 - Research Methods in the Sciences


Job opportunities that require training in resource management will remain in demand as society moves towards ecologically sustainable management practices for all of our natural resources. Students trained in the ecology and management of water resources will be sought after as the pressures of urban
and agricultural development place unprecedented demands on water supplies. Our graduates have taken positions in catchment management authorities, state and federal government management agencies, consultancies and industry, and research organisations.

Partnerships, Networks and Industry Links

Much of our research is in partnership with agencies, businesses and community groups. We have completed projects with the Australian Research CouncilCommonwealth Environmental Water Office, Murray Darling Basin Authority, Cotton Research & Development Corporation, numerous Local Land Services regions in NSW, and state agencies such as the NSW Office of Water, NSW Office of Environment & Heritage, and the Department of Primary Industries.


Our on-campus facilities include established laboratories for environmental and analytical chemistry, aquatic microbiology, the ecology and taxonomy of algal, macroinvertebrate and fish communities, and an experimental fishway and flume. Students can access specialist field gear including benthic metabolism chambers and water quality sensors, underwater spectrometry, and piscatorial sampling equipment.


For information on our research activities, please visit the pages of the Aquatic Ecology and Restoration Research Group.

Students on a field trip at the beach


For general and administrative enquiries, AskUNE.

Enquiries about studying Aquatic Ecology and Management at UNE can be made to:

Dr Darren Ryder
Phone: +61 2 6773 5226