BIO3091 - Biology of Australian Vegetation

General Unit Information

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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 examining 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 and animals, and at competition processes.

We then discuss the evolutionary history of the Australian vegetation and flora, concentrating on the flowering plants.

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 projects we run at the Lake Mountain during the mid-semester break provide practical experience of some of the methods and ecological principles covered in the lecture course.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the major characteristics of the main Australian vegetation types;
  2. Explain the basic ecological and historical processes influencing the characteristics of the vegetation types and their component species;
  3. Integrate and explain the different interactions occurring within the plant environment;
  4. Demonstrate competence in the methodological approaches that are used in plant ecology.

Specific Unit Information

NameProf Ros Gleadow 
Office location17/311
Office hoursBy appointment - please e-mail
Technical coordinator
NamesEmily Skoda
Office location18/114
PrescribedAustralian Vegetation, Groves R. H., 2nd Edition
Program for 2016
Handbook EntryBIO3091- Synopsis, Assessment & Prerequisites
ScheduleBIO3091 - Lecture & Practical Schedule 2017
Important links
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