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BIO2100 The Australian Biota

Semester 1, 2022 External
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Agriculture and Environmental Science
Student contribution band : Band 2
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 18 May 2022


Examiner: John Dearnaley


An understanding of Australia’s unique flora, fauna and fungi is essential for suitable management and conservation of our biodiversity. The accurate identification of Australia’s biota and an understanding of how it is distributed are important components of ecological survey and the study of natural and disturbed ecosystems. This course provides knowledge and practical skills in the identification of biodiversity for students interested in professional careers as environmental scientists, field biologists, ecologists, wildlife managers, conservation biologists, and teachers.

This course is designed to provide students with fundamental knowledge in the diversity of plants, animals and fungi and their habitats, with a specific focus on Australian biodiversity, and to provide them with skills of identification of biota. The evolution of the Australian flora and fauna from pre-Gondwana to the present-day and the current distribution of major vegetation types in relation to climate, soils, and fire are also explored. Practical work in the residential school laboratory sessions is an important component of this course. The assignments are designed to encourage students to extend their practical experience in their own time and to increase their awareness of the local flora, fungi, and fauna.

This course contains a Highly Recommended residential school for both external and on-campus at USQ's Toowoomba campus.

Course learning outcomes

On completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. describe the diversity and main distinguishing characteristics of organisms classified in the Kingdoms Plantae, Animalia and Fungi;
  2. explain the history of the Australian continent and the evolution of Australia's unique flora, funga and fauna;
  3. discuss the biogeography of the Australian flora and fauna in relation to historical and present day factors;
  4. critically review the adaptations of many organisms to their habitats;
  5. Identify flowering and non-flowering plants, major invertebrate and vertebrate groups and terrestrial fungi;
  6. appropriately collect and preserve specimens of plants, certain fungi and insects.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Origins of Australia’s biodiversity 8.00
2. Biogeography of Australian flora and fauna 17.00
3. Major Australian Faunal Groups 25.00
4. Major Australian Plant Groups 30.00
5. Fungi 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

Urry, LA, Meyers, N, Cain, ML, Wasserman, SA, Minorsky and Reece, JB (2018) Campbell Biology, 11th edn, Pearson, Benjamin/Cummings, California. (Australian Version.) 2018, Campbell Biology, 11th edn, Pearson, California. (Australian Version.).

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Approach Type Description Group
Weighting (%) Course learning outcomes
Assignments Written Quiz No 20 1,2,3,4,5
Assignments Practical Tech and/or scntific artefact No 40 1,2,3,4,5,6
Examinations Non-invigilated Time limited online examinatn No 40 1,2,3,4
Date printed 18 May 2022