BIOL4409 Ecological Field Methods

6 points
(see Timetable)
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face
Non-standard teaching periodAlbanyFace to face
Non-standard teaching periodAlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Honours option in Botany; Conservation Biology; Environmental Science; Marine Science [Bachelor of Science (Honours)]
This is a unit for anyone seeking to develop their practical skills in sampling plant and animal populations in ecological studies. It encourages students to adopt good planning and risk assessment practices, and provides them with the tools to be able to confidently sample plant and animal populations using a variety of commonly used techniques. It also emphasises the importance of good study design and appropriate statistical analysis. Students are based in Albany for five days and during this time gain first-hand experience in measuring plant and animal abundance in the South Coast region of Western Australia.
Students are able to (1) prepare a field and risk assessment plan for ecological sampling; (2) demonstrate an understanding of the principals of sampling and study design in an ecological context; (3) demonstrate an understanding of the methods of ecological sampling for a variety of plant and animal groups, and a range of environments; (4) estimate both plant and animal abundance using commonly used field techniques in a range of environments; (5) demonstrate ability to utilise a variety of field techniques to sample flora and fauna in a range of environments; (6) demonstrate knowledge of appropriate sampling permits and animal ethics approvals; (7) based on data collected during the field camp, refine the sampling program to gain a representative sample of a similar site; (8) curate a dataset of field data; and (9) provide a written report outlining the sampling program for a similar site justified using analysis of pilot data collected during field camp.
Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) field safety plan; (2) written biodiversity survey plan; and (3) peer review of biodiversity survey plan. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Peter Speldewinde
Unit rules
enrolment in the Master of Biotechnology (71580)
the Master of Geographic Information Science (71570)
the Master of Biological Science (72520)
the Master of Ecotourism (73510)
the Bachelor of Science (Honours) (BH004)
Contact hours
available in two teaching periods which both include a one-week field trip to Albany during the mid-semester break for relevant semester (charges: cost of food and accommodation is borne by the student). The total workload for the unit is 150 hours.
Unit Outline
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.