BIO3132 - Biology of Australian Vertebrates

General Unit Information


This unit examines the evolution and characteristics of the vertebrate fauna of Australasia in relation to the historical and current biogeography and ecology of the region.  The primary focus will be the biology of the higher Australasian vertebrates and will be achieved by examination of the physiological, behavioural, and nutritional ecology of the major taxa.

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 in reptiles, birds and mammals, 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;
  2. Explain the significance of physiological, behavioural, reproductive and nutritional adaptations in vertebrates in relation to their ecology;
  3. Describe the diversity and distribution of major vertebrate taxa in Australia;
  4. Demonstrate competence in techniques for investigating the functional biology of organisms;
  5. Communicate scientific findings in oral and written forms.

Specific Unit Information

Names Prof Anne Peters
Office location 19 Rnf (Enter via 25 Rnf), Room 108
Office hours By appointment - please email
Technical coordinator
Names Kylie Fennessy
Office location 25 Rnf (Building 18), Room 114
Phone 9905 6447
Recommended There is no prescribed text for this unit
Program for 2021
University Handbook Entry BIO3132 - Synopsis, Assessment & Prerequisites
Schedule BIO3132 - Lecture & Practical Schedule for 2021
Important links
Science Faculty Information for Current Students
University Information for Students - Timetables, Exam, Semester Dates, more.....