1.1. Systems and ModelsEdit
It is essential that the systems approach is used throughout this course. This approach identifies the elements of the systems, and examines the relationships and processes that link these elements into a functioning entity. This topic may be best viewed therefore as a theme to be used in the delivery of the other topics, rather than as an isolated teaching topic. The topic identifies some of the underlying principles that can be applied to living systems, from the level of the individual up to that of the whole biosphere. It would therefore be helpful to describe and analyse the systems addressed in the terms laid out in this topic (wherever possible). The systems approach also emphasizes the similarities between environmental systems, biological systems and artificial entities such as transport and communication systems. This approach stresses that there are concepts, techniques and terms that can be transferred from one discipline (such as ecology) to another (such as engineering).