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This fieldwork subject takes place in the Daintree Rainforest Observatory in Northern Queensland, and provides an overall perspective on the biology of Australian terrestrial animals, including both vertebrates and invertebrates. A key aim is for students to gain experience in designing and conducting a research project on wild animal populations and then preparing a journal style manuscript reporting their findings. Thus they should develop skills in analysing, interpreting and evaluating data and integrating their findings with existing literature and knowledge. Students should also develop skills in detection, population survey, capture, handling, collection of standard morphometric data and identification of wildlife, and assessment of behaviour, reproductive status, etc. They will apply these research methods to animals in the wild, and integrate this with knowledge of the biology of these taxa.
The estimated additional cost of the field trip to the Daintree Rainforest, Northern Queensland, is in the vicinity of $1500
Students who require this subject in order to complete a major in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, but who are experiencing financial difficulty should contact the subject coordinator to enquire about the possibility of scholarship support.
Intended learning outcomes
Upon completion of this subject, students should have had the opportunity to engage in an authentic experience of the entire process of scientific research, including:
- translating a general question in animal ecology, behaviour etc., to a specific hypothesis about the relationship between measurable variables;
- developing an experimental or sampling design;
- collecting and analysing data;
- preparing an oral presentation and a draft written report;
- formally reviewing reports prepared by other students and revising their reports in line with the reviews provided by their colleagues; and
- finally submitting an individual report for assessment.
This subject builds upon existing generic skills, including:
- an ability to approach and assimilate new knowledge from observation and the literature;
- an ability to use that knowledge to evaluate and communicate results; and
- working in collaborative teams.
The practical and ethical constraints of working on wild animals under field conditions will be emphasized.
Last updated: 9 June 2021