BIO3820 - Tropical Terrestrial Biology

General Unit Information

OrangutanCanoe trip

The unit if 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

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 second semester break - Friday 21st - Saturday 29th September 2018.   The cost, including transport, food and accommodation will be ~ $2000.

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 of $500.00    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,  Mr Bruce Weir.  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 Bruce Weir ( and request a place on the waiting list.

Specific Unit Information

Names Assoc Prof Richard Reina (Clayton students) Dr Yek Sze Huei, Zoe (Malaysian students)
Office location 18/G20 Monash University Malaysia
Office hours By appointment - please e-mail
Technical Coordinator
Name Bruce Weir
Office location 18/108
Prescribed Tropical Ecology: John Kirchner - Princeton University Press, 2011
Program for 2018
Handbook Entry BIO3820- Synopsis, Assessment & Prerequisites
Schedule (Clayton) BIO3820 - Lecture & Practical Schedule for 2018
Important links
Science Faculty Information for Students - Enrolments, Prac Sessions, more.....
University Information for Students - Timetables, Exam, Semester Dates, more.....