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Unit (2020)

Information on this page, including unit offerings, is from the 2020 academic year.

Australian Biodiversity (BIO257)

Organisational Unit Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Credit Points 3
Availability MURDOCH: S2-internal
Teaching Timetables Murdoch S2
Description Our planet is home to approximately 8.7 million species, all of which are connected by the passage of genes along branches of the phylogenetic tree. Recording this biodiversity and understanding how it is distributed and responds to forces of environmental change is essential to its preservation. With a focus on the unique flora and fauna of Australia, this unit will introduce you to phylogenetic relationships and classification, adaptations, ecological and cultural significance, and the threats to biological diversity.
Unit Learning Outcomes Upon successful completion of this unit, you should be able to:

1. Evaluate the importance of the diversity of life in biological, environmental and social contexts.
2. Describe how abiotic and biotic processes along with human activities impact biodiversity.
3. Apply evolutionary relationships and the principles of systematics to classify organisms.
4. Observe and interpret key morphological feature for identification of major plant and animal groups.
5. Use taxonomic keys and online databases to accurately identity organisms for scientific research.
6. Source and communicate information on the taxonomy and ecology of Australian plants and animals.
7. Appreciate the different values placed on species and habitats by different sectors, e.g. indigenous, scientific, conservation, commercial and recreational.
Timetabled Learning Activities Lectures: 3 hours per week; practicals: 3 hours per week.
Unit Learning Experiences Australian Biodiversity will introduce you to the major groups of plants and animals, their classification and how to identify them. In the lectures, you will start the process by looking at classification of life on earth, how the various groups of plants and animals are related and how each group has certain characteristics that separate it from other groups. You will then focus on the major groups of flora and fauna found in Australia, their characteristics and how their form is adapted to habitat. You will also hear about their relative ecological and economic importance and their cultural significance. Along with this, you will learn how we value and measure biodiversity and the key roles that conservation science and communities are undertaking to reduce threatening processes, to preserve, restore and manage biodiversity. In the practicals you will gain skills to accurately identify plants and animals from the SW region of Western Australia, home to one of the richest floras in the world and to a unique variety of animals. The assessment items will give you further opportunity to extend your learning through presentation of herbaria and fact sheets on selected plant and animal species

Assessment 1 Plant Laboratory test (30%). Carried out in the laboratory and will assess students' ability to follow plant keys and interpret defining morphological characteristics.
2)Plant herbarium and research notes (20%). Assesses students' ability to produce a detailed herbarium on specimens identified in the practical classes, and their ability to research and collate information on major WA plant Families.
3 Animal laboratory test (30%). Carried out in the laboratory and will assess students' ability to follow animal keys and interpret defining morphological characteristics.
4 Animal Report (20%). Assesses students' ability to research and collate information including phylogeny, biology, ecology, adaptations and threats on a range of animal groups.
Prerequisites Nil.
Exclusions Students who have successfully completed BIO157 Introduction to Australian Biodiversity or BIO257 Biodiversity may not enrol in this unit for credit.
Previously 2015: 'Biodiversity'
Appears in these Courses/Majors:
see individual structures for context
Animal Health (BSc) [New in 2015]
Animal Science (BSc) [New in 2014]
Biological Sciences (BSc) [New in 2014]
Biology and Environmental Science Major Teaching Area (BEd(Sec)) [New in 2019]
Chemistry (BSc) [New in 2014]
Conservation and Wildlife Biology (BSc) [New in 2014]
Crop and Pasture Science (BSc)
Crop and Pasture Science (BSc) [New in 2016]
Earth and Environmental Science Major Teaching Area (BEd(Sec)) [New in 2019]
Environmental Management and Sustainability (BSc) [New in 2014]
Environmental Science (BSc) [New in 2014]
Marine Biology (BSc) [New in 2017]
Marine Science (BSc) [New in 2014]
Mathematics and Statistics (BSc) [New in 2014]
Physics and Nanotechnology (BSc) [New in 2014]
Sport and Health Science (BSc) [New in 2014]
Appears in these Co-Majors Biological Science Minor Teaching Area
Appears in these Minors Nature Based Tourism
Plant Biology
Sustainability, Ecosystems and Community Development
Internet Access RequirementsMurdoch units normally include an online component comprising materials, discussions, lecture recordings and assessment activities. All students, regardless of their location or mode of study, need to have access to and be able to use computing devices with browsing capability and a connection to the Internet via Broadband (Cable, ADSL or Mobile) or Wireless. The Internet connection should be readily available and allow large amounts of data to be streamed or downloaded (approximately 100MB per lecture recording). Students also need to be able to enter into online discussions and submit assignments online.


Unit Coordinator
Dr Barbara Bowen
Senior Lecturer

Murdoch Campus
t: 9360 2928
e: B.Bowen@murdoch.edu.au
o: 240.2.013 - Building 240, Murdoch Campus
Unit Contacts

MURDOCH: S2-Internal
Dr Barbara Bowen
Senior Lecturer

Murdoch Campus
t: 9360 2928
e: B.Bowen@murdoch.edu.au
o: 240.2.013 - Building 240, Murdoch Campus
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