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Unit of study_

BIOL2032: Australian Wildlife Biology

Australia is home to a broad diversity of vertebrate wildlife species, many of which are unique to the Australian environment, having evolved in isolation from other large land-masses for millions of years. This unit examines the diversity of Australian reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals (including all three mammalian lineages: monotremes, marsupials and eutherian mammals). We focus on the unique anatomical, physiological and behavioural adaptations that have enabled our wildlife to survive and thrive within varied Australian ecosystems. We also examine how the uniqueness of our wildlife is also one of its greatest challenges, being naive to the new threats that are present in our rapidly changing environments. At the end of this unit you should have an appreciation of the diversity and uniqueness of Australian wildlife; be able to determine the links between form and function in wildlife and understand the significance of these functional adaptations in relation to ecological challenges. You will also have an understanding of the interactions between humans and wildlife, and how the unique characteristics of our wildlife also make them vulnerable to threats within the rapidly changing Australian environment. Students will also develop enhanced scientific literacy and communication skills through tutorial activities and assessment tasks.

Code BIOL2032
Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. describe the diversity of Australia’s terrestrial vertebrate fauna and which taxonomic groups have flourished and explain why this has occurred
  • LO2. describe the anatomical, physiological and behavioural adaptations observed in Australian wildlife and relate these to environmental challenges, understanding the links between form and function and building on and expanding your knowledge form junior units of study
  • LO3. examine museum specimens and study live animals to determine the most significant functional adaptations in a variety of species of key taxonomic groups
  • LO4. describe the main characteristics of invasive species and explain why they pose such a threat to Australian wildlife
  • LO5. describe the relationship between indigenous Australians and wildlife and the potential role of indigenous knowledge systems in wildlife conservation
  • LO6. solve problems to evaluate the functional adaptations of “foreign” wildlife specimens
  • LO7. communicate scientific findings in oral and written form
  • LO8. review scientific literature and communicate the relevant information to specialist and lay audiences.
  • LO9. apply knowledge about the biology of a species to their applied conservation and management