BIO3091 - Biology of Australian Vegetation

General Unit Information


This unit examines the ecology of the major Australian vegetation communities and their component plants. It focuses on the factors influencing the distribution, composition and structure of Australian plant communities, and the characteristics of their species. It addresses the role of both contemporary environmental factors and historical factors in shaping the vegetation and flora.

We start by briefly discussing discuss the evolutionary history of the Australian vegetation and flora, concentrating on the flowering plants.

We then examine the environmental influences on vegetation, and on environmental stresses and adaptation at the plant level. In particular, we look at the roles of climate, soil, disturbance, animals, and plant-plant interactions.

Finally we build on the earlier course material to give detailed discussions of the ecology of the major plant communities - the rainforests, eucalypt-dominated communities, deserts, heaths, grasslands and the coastal and alpine communities.

The field course and projects that we run at Lake Mountain during the mid-semester break provide practical experience of some of the methods and ecological principles covered in the lecture course. The field trip will take place from Tuesday 19th April to Friday 22nd April 2022 with a fee payable (approx $400-$500) and is compulsory for all students.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the broad characteristics of Australia’s major vegetation types;
  2. Articulate the functional and structural differences between plants adapted to different environments;
  3. Explain the fundamental physiological and ecological processes that influence vegetation types and their component species;
  4. Demonstrate strong competence in methodological approaches used in the plant sciences, including the field collection, interpretation, analysis and synthesis of biological data;
  5. Effectively communicate the results of field and project work in a range of modes and for a variety of audiences;
  6. Work effectively, responsibly and safely in individual and peer or team contexts.

Specific Unit Information

Unit Coordinator
NameDr Chris Lee
Office location 
Office hoursBy appointment - please email
Technical Coordinators
NameKylie Fennessy
Office location25Rnf/114
Phone9905 6447
PrescribedAustralian Vegetation, Keith D. 3rd Edition.
Program for 2022
Handbook EntryBIO3091- Synopsis, Assessment & Prerequisites
ScheduleBIO3091 - Lecture & Practical Schedule 2022
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Science FacultyInformation for Current Students
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