Field Biology of Australian Wildlife

Subject ZOOL30009 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

An enrolment quota of 48 students applies to this subject.
Practical work will be undertaken at a field station at Boho South in the Strathbogie Ranges, during the mid-semester break in late September.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Four lectures, 60 hours practical work and an oral presentation during a week-long field trip held in the mid-semester break in late September. Two tutorials - one pre-camp and one post-camp.
Total Time Commitment: Estimated total time commitment of 120 hours


Two of

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 2

OR (prior to 2009)


  • 654-202 Vertebrate Structure and Function (prior to 2009)
  • 654-204 Ecology: Individuals and Populations (prior to 2009)
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects:

Students who have received credit for 654-309 Field Biology of Australian Wildlife (prior to 2010) may not enrol in this subject for credit.

Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering applications for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005) and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, this subject requires all students to actively and safely participate in practical work and field trip activities. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their participation are encouraged to discuss this with the Subject Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Assoc Prof Graeme Coulson, Dr Kath Handasyde


Subject Overview:

This field work subject provides an overall perspective on the biology of Australian terrestrial vertebrates: marsupials, monotremes, eutherians, birds, reptiles and amphibians. A key aim is for students to gain experience in designing and conducting a research project on wild animal populations and then preparing a journal style manuscript reporting their findings. Thus they should develop skills in analysing, interpreting and evaluating data and integrating their findings with existing literature and knowledge. Students should also develop skills in detection, population survey, capture, handling, collection of standard morphometric data and identification of wildlife, and assessment of behaviour, reproductive status etc. They will apply these research methods to animals in the wild, and integrate this with knowledge of the biology of these taxa.


To provide students with an opportunity to engage in an authentic experience of the entire process of scientific research: from translating a general question in animal behaviour to a specific hypothesis about the relationship between measurable variables; developing an experimental or sampling design; collecting and analysing data; preparing an oral presentation and a draft written report; formally reviewing reports prepared by other students and revising their reports in line with the reviews provided by their colleagues; and finally submitting an individual report for assessment.


Field reports totalling up to 3000 words due during the semester (60%); a 2-hour written examination in the examination period (40%).

Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: This subject builds upon existing generic skills, including an ability to approach and assimilate new knowledge from observation and the literature, an ability to use that knowledge to evaluate and communicate results and working in collaborative teams. The practical and ethical constraints of working on wild animals under field conditions will be emphasized.

This subject is available for science credit to students enrolled in the BSc (both pre-2008 and new degrees), BASc or a combined BSc course.

This subject was previously known as 654-322 Experimental Wildlife Zoology (prior to 2011)

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Science
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Animal Disease Biotechnology (specialisation of Animal Health and Disease major)
Conservation and Australian Wildlife (pre-2008 Bachelor of Science)
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Reproduction and Development (pre-2008 Bachelor of Science)
Science credit subjects* for pre-2008 BSc, BASc and combined degree science courses
Related Breadth Track(s): Australian Wildlife

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