Ecology & Management of Australian Fauna

Course code ENVS2006Units 10Level 2000Faculty of Science and Information TechnologySchool of Environmental and Life Sciences

Being able to identify living organisms and to understand their functional role and interrelationships is the basis of all ecosystem studies. This course introduces students to the breadth of diversity of the Australian fauna and investigates its origins and significance of this diversity. Because of its long geological isolation Australia's fauna is rich and unique (endemic), with ancient and relict species and communities. The adaptations of the fauna to the diversity of habitats available and significant regions of biodiversity will be investigated. Co-evolution of the Australian flora and fauna is a recurring theme, with examples of seed dispersal, pollination and protection from predators. An emphasis is also placed on the applied aspects of habitat and fauna assessments in the field.

In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory Health and Safety requirement. Students will receive full information on this compulsory component in the course outline provided by the school.

Not to count with EMGT2050 or SRMT2040.

Available in 2015

Callaghan CampusSemester 1
OurimbahSemester 1
Previously offered in 2014
ObjectivesAt the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. Have a clear understanding of the origin of biological diversity & its various components;
2. Understand the process & role of speciation & hybridisation, selection & adaptation, & sexual selection in an ecological context;
3. Understand & apply the concepts & principles of ecology as it reflects on the distribution, & to animal-plant and animal-animal relationships;
4. Have knowledge of the origins & relationships of Australian fauna;
5. Be conversant with the principle of cladistics & phylogenetic reconstruction;
6. Be conversant with the implications of molecular genetic data to systematics, biogeography & conservation biology of animals;
7. Understand & use the classification system for animals;
8. Understand the key physiological, anatomical & adaptive features of the major animal taxa;
9. Understand the biogeographic & phylogeographic features of the distribution of animal communities from a global & Australian perspective;


1. Apply established techniques to detecting the presence of animals & assessing the size & distribution of their populations in a given area;
2. Prepare lists of animal species according to taxonomic & ecological schemes;
3. Describe the current survival status of given animal species in Australia against the background of nature conservation principles;
4. Apply the principles of land management with respect to the conservation & re-establishment of animal populations during and following perturbation;
5. Interpret scientific data;
6. Present scientific data in written and oral forms;
7. Be familiar with the pertinent literature in texts, journals & technical reports;
8. Write laboratory reports in standard scientific format;
9. Show familiarity with current events in systematics & ecology;
10. Handle a range of field equipment used in fauna studies, including programmable dataloggers, traps, nets, electronic detection devices, GPS & other equipment;
11. Develop a systematic approach to solving problems;
12. Develop a coherent overview of Science & its disciplines.
13. Apply or adapt appropriate theory & techniques in a wide range of contexts
ContentThe Theme of the course revolves around investigating the origins of biological diversity and its various components. Specific emphasis is given to investigating the origin and relationships of Australia's fauna.
1. Modes of speciation and its outcomes, natural selection and adaptation and the significance of sexual selection. The ecological context of speciation.
2. Australia's past, geology and it biological consequences. Gondwanan lineages, Immigration and emigration.
3. The origin of endemism
4. The genetic basis of evolutionary change.
5. Reproductive effort, sexual selection and
6. Methods to study, identify and describe the diversity of animals. These include the use of classification schemes, phylogenetic reconstruction and phylogeography.
7. The ecology of a range of selected Australian animals will be dealt within in some detail. Ecological interactions as examples of long evolutionary associations.
8. Unique adaptations to aridity, salinity, low nutrients, and fire.
Replacing Course(s)EMGT2050 and SRMT2040
TransitionNot to count for credit with EMGT2050 or SRMT2040.
Industrial Experience0
Assumed KnowledgeBIOL1001 or BIOL1002, and BIOL1003 (Callaghan students)
BIOL1040 and BIOL1050 (Ourimbah students)
Modes of DeliveryInternal Mode
Teaching MethodsField Study
Assessment Items
Examination: Formal
Other: (please specify)Laboratory assignments, field excursion practical test and assignment
Contact HoursTutorial: for 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Practical: for 3 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Lecture: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Compulsory Components
Compulsory Course ComponentOHS-Safety Induction or Risk Assessment. In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory lab/fieldwork induction.
Timetables2015 Course Timetables for ENVS2006