BIO3820 - Tropical Terrestrial Biology

General Unit Information

OrangutanCanoe trip

The unit is offered by both the Clayton and Malaysian campuses and focuses on the biology of terrestrial tropical ecosystems in South East Asia (particularly the Malaysian region) but also discusses tropical environments in other parts of the world. The Malaysian region encompasses many unique tropical habitats such as dipterocarp forest, peat swamp forest, cloud forest, karst vegetation and caves, which will be studied in detail. The students will gain an understanding of the importance of climate, nutrient cycling, disturbance, and succession on the ecology of tropical plants and animals. Conservation and management issues will also be examined.

Field Course

2023 field course: The field course is jointly run by the Clayton and Malaysian campuses of Monash University and runs as a week long compulsory field component at Gunung Mulu National Park in Borneo-Malaysia during the mid-semester break in Semester 2. The cost, including transport, food and accommodation will be ~ $2500.The field trip will run from  Monday 25 September - Tuesday 3 October, 2023.

Slow LorisCanopy

Monash Abroad Travel Grants for Clayton students

Eligible students undertaking the field trip to South East Asia will receive a Monash Abroad travel grant ($1250).    All students enrolled at Clayton who undertake the field trip, including those who want to apply for the travel grant, will need to complete a separate Monash Abroad application form which is available from the unit Technical Coordinator,  Ms Kate Elliott.  Further details about Monash Abroad travel grants and other international study opportunities can be found at


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the diversity, structure and function of a range of tropical ecosystems;
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of conservation and management issues relating to tropical ecosystems;
  3. Demonstrate and understand the importance of climate, nutrient cycling, disturbance and forest dynamics, on the ecology of tropical plants and animals;
  4. Design, analyse and undertake sampling programs to examine the flora and fauna of tropical habitats;
  5. Demonstrate advanced scientific report writing skills;
  6. Make effective oral and visual presentations;
  7. Work collaboratively and effectively in teams.

Please note: Due to Field Course logistics this unit has a quota of 40 Clayton students.   Any student who is interested, but missed a place in the initial quota is advised to contact Kate Elliott ( and request a place on the waiting list.

Specific Unit Information


Names Prof. Richard Reina (Clayton students) Dr Wan Faridah Jusoh
Office location By appointment - please e-mail Monash University Malaysia
Technical Coordinator
Name Kate Elliott
Office location 25 Rainforest walk - Rm 108
Prescribed Tropical Ecology: John Kirchner - Princeton University Press, 2011
Program for 2023
Handbook Entry

BIO3820- Synopsis, Assessment & Prerequisites

Schedule (Clayton)BIO3820 seminar and tutorial schedule
Important links
Science Faculty Information for Current Students
University Information for Students - Timetables, Exam, Semester Dates, more.....