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This subject will introduce students to the biology of Australia's vertebrate fauna with an emphasis on ecology and behaviour of frogs, reptiles, birds and mammals. There will be particular focus on the adaptations of the fauna to the unique and uncertain nature of the Australian terrestrial environment. A variety of topics will be discussed including diversity of Australian vertebrate groups in comparison to other parts of the world; the impact of human activities and introduced animals on native fauna; wildlife diseases; and the ethics associated with research and experimentation on animals.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- demonstrate knowledge of the diversity of the Australian fauna, and the types of animals in the major taxonomic groups, including classes and families
- explain diverse aspects of the biology and ecology of the major Australian wildlife groups
- conduct field observations and record appropriate notes and data to allow species identification based on morphology and behaviour.
- collect, interpret and evaluate scientific data to write a report that synthesises and graphically represents main findings
- demonstrate effective and appropriate use of the scientific literature to support or refute claims and arguments related to the ecology and evolution of Australian wildlife
- relate knowledge acquired in class about Australian wildlife to scientific evidence and communicate this in an accessible way to peers and the general public
This subject builds upon generic skills developed in first-year subjects, including an ability to approach and assimilate new knowledge and an ability to use that knowledge to evaluate and communicate ideas.
Upon completion of this subject students should have:
- learned how to observe critically and to use the results of those observations to pose and answer theoretical questions and to solve practical problems;
- gained experience in mastering the terminology of a scientific field and then in using that mastery to access an established body of scientific literature and material;
- developed the ability to critically evaluate questions and issues in that scientific field;
- learned how to collect and interpret data in field situations and write this up as a scientific report.
Last updated: 6 December 2023