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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton Second semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Christopher Johnstone


The diversity and biology of Australian vertebrates will be investigated in relation to biogeographical history and ecology of the region. The course examines the biology of Australian vertebrates as examples of the physiological, behavioural and nutritional adaptations that animals around the world develop in response to environmental challenges. Specific topics will include; life history strategies of birds and mammals with particular emphasis on marsupials, clutch size in birds and the relationship to latitude, cooperative breeding in birds, physiological adaptations to temperate and arid conditions, and feeding adaptations in relation to the evolution of dietary resources.


On completion of this unit, students should have; development of an understanding of the historical factors that have influenced the evolution of the Australian vertebrate fauna; development of an understanding of the significance of physiological, behavioural and nutritional adaptations in vertebrates in relation to their ecology; development of an introductory knowledge of techniques for investigating the functional biology of organisms; development of skills in oral and visual communication of biological concepts


Examination (2.5 hours): 50%
Written reports: 40%
Oral presentation 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Richard Reina

Contact hours

Two 1-hour lectures and the equivalent of 3 hours of practical and/or field work per week


12 points from level two BIO units, including BIO2242.