Australia's biodiversity is globally celebrated for its unique beauty and distinctiveness. Australia also has a reputation for being home to some of the world's deadliest animals. This reputation, sometimes well earned, has created an aura of danger and mystique around Australia's native fauna. The purpose of this unit is to provide students with an appreciation of these animals and the skills to investigate organisms perceived as risks to humans. Completing modules on snakes, spiders, crocodiles, sharks, octopuses, jellyfish, insects, and ticks, you will assess and evaluate the evidence addressing key questions: Just how dangerous are Australian animals? How much of their deadly reputation is myth? Why, and how, do people get killed by these extraordinary animals? How well do we estimate the risks they pose? How does understanding of the science of how these animals operate help us manage the dangers they pose? You will learn about how the threats posed by different animals are a function of their behaviour, ecology, morphology and evolutionary history. You will also identify medical responses to these threats, examining the latest research and investigating how these advances have changed our perceptions of the risk posed by these animals. You will also reflect on the role these animals play in Australian culture, looking how they have been portrayed historically and how they are represented today. By completing this unit you will develop a deeper understanding of the evidence, knowledge gaps, and misconceptions that are behind the science of our most misunderstood animal groups; those that pose a threat to us.
8 x online quizzes (50%); reflective exercise (20%); video presentation (30%)