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Unit of study_

BIOL3010: Tropical Wildlife Biology

Australia has a unique terrestrial vertebrate fauna, but also has the worst record of recent mammalian extinctions. Because of Australias unusual climate, landforms, and the rarity of many species, the management of our native wildlife presents special challenges for biologists, conservationists and land managers. This unit of study addresses the biogeography, ecology and management of Australias terrestrial fauna. The subject comprises of a five-day field course at Mary River Park in the Northern Territory. During the course, students will learn how to carry out wildlife surveys, how to identify animals, how to track wildlife, and how to design and complete a field experiment. The field trip will be complemented by guest lectures from experts in the fields of evolution, ecology and wildlife management. A one day field trip to Litchfield National Park will be held on the last day of the field course.


Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Unit code BIOL3010
Unit name Tropical Wildlife Biology
Session, year
Intensive February, 2023
Attendance mode Block mode
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

BIOL3910 or BIOL2010 or BIOL2910
12 credit points of BIOL2XXX or [6 credit points of BIOL2XXX and 6 credit points of(AVBS2XXX or ENVX2001 or MBLG2X72)]
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Mathew Crowther,
Lecturer(s) Camilla Marie Whittington ,
Dieter Hochuli,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Small test Theory exam
Final exam covering theory of lecture material
40% Week -01
Due date: 17 Feb 2023 at 14:00
Final exam covering lecture material
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO3
Presentation Wildlife management talks (USyd)
Oral presentation on issues in wildlife management
15% Week -01 12 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO6 LO7
Small test Practical exam (Mary River Park)
Practical examination of material
15% Week -02 1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO3 LO2
Assignment Cane toad paper
Experimental report on cane toad movements
30% Week 06 3000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4 LO7

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Pre-semester Field trip to Northern Territory covering cane toad experiment and catching an identifying wildlife Field trip (40 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO7
Lectures on the biology and management of Tropical fauna Lecture (8 hr) LO1 LO5 LO6 LO7
Lab of analysis of cane toad data Science laboratory (4 hr) LO4 LO7

Attendance and class requirements

Required materials: Please make sure you bring all the following items: Head torch and mosquito repellent. You can buy cheap head torches from Woolworths or Bunnings. You will need one so that you don’t tread on snakes at night. Field notebook (A6 or A5 size, hard cover; not loose A4 sheets and clipboard). Enough pencils etc. and a larger notebook (or A4 paper and ring binder) for lectures and work at Mary River Park. Long pants and long sleeved shirts for night fieldwork (mosquitos are abundant and ‘friendly’). Waterproof raincoat, suitable closed footwear - the best combination is walking boots for dry days and gumboots for rainy days; assume that you will get wet (N.B. students not adequately equipped for each activity will not be allowed to take part and will potentially fail that element of the course). Hat and sunglasses, casual clothes (shorts, t-shirts), footwear (thongs/sandals are ok to wear when not doing fieldwork). Sunscreen (SPF 30+). Swimmers and towel for the pool and Litchfield day trip. Enough casual clothes, personal toiletries, towel, etc (weather... it can be anything from 25- 42 deg C, and it can be cold (25 deg C) at night if it rains. Water bottle (minimum capacity 500ml). Personal medication (to include paracetomol etc.). If you have them, binoculars. Alarm clock or mobile phone with alarm. Hand lens or digital camera if you have them for identifying reptiles. Bird guide or reptile guide, optional. Books will be provided on the course. Note: linen, pillows etc are provided by Mary River Park.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

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

  • LO1. appreciate evolution and biogeography of the Australian fauna
  • LO2. use field guides and dichotomous keys in the identification of animals
  • LO3. apply field skills such as trapping, in the study of animals
  • LO4. develop field experiments to understand animal biology
  • LO5. appreciate issues in the management of the Australian fauna
  • LO6. understand the role Aboriginal people play in managing the Australian landscape and fauna
  • LO7. develop written and oral communication skills to disseminate knowledge relating to animal biology

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
Extremely good USS reviews and scores. Any suggestions can't be done due to remote fieldwork
Below are contact details for Mary River Park should your parents, guardians, friends or relatives urgently need to contact you whilst on the fieldtrip. Mary River Park:
Telephone: 08 8978 8877
There is no mobile phone coverage at Mary River Park. However, wireless internet is available so you can check your emails and update your Facebook and Instagram pages.


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