Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

print version

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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

FacultyFaculty of Science
Organisational UnitSchool of Biological Sciences
OfferedGippsland First semester 2014 (Day)
Clayton Second semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Bronwyn Isaacs (Clayton); Dr Wendy Wright (Gippsland)


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 will be able to:

  1. Describe the historical factors that have influenced the evolution of the Australian vertebrate fauna;

  1. Explain the significance of physiological, behavioural, reproductive and nutritional adaptations in vertebrates in relation to their ecology;

  1. Describe the diversity and distribution of major vertebrate taxa in Australia;

  1. Demonstrate competence in techniques for investigating the functional biology of organisms;

  1. Communicate scientific findings in oral and written forms.


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

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

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

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


BIO2242 and an additional 6 points from level two BIO units, or ENV2712 and BIO2752.