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.
Three lectures; one 2-hour tutorial or practical session each week
Quizzes, presentation assignment, exam
No text book requirements. Recommended reading throughout semester provided by each lecture relevant to their class content. Relevant scientific papers will be uploaded to LMS