BIOL5503 Sampling Techniques in Wildlife Research

6 points
Not available in 2018UWA (Perth)Face to face
In this unit, students work with consulting ecologists, non-government organisations (NGOs) and community groups on fauna projects to gain an understanding of the particular projects with which they become involved, and learn about relevant techniques for fauna surveys. While they learn hands-on fauna sampling techniques, they also provide a service to the NGOs with whom they work by providing them with practical assistance in the field and by producing a written report for the NGOs. The students' reports meet a real need of these community groups to produce high quality, factually accurate, and correctly analysed reports for their funding bodies and other stakeholders. There are reciprocal benefits and true collaboration stemming from the students' participation in the NGOs' projects.

Before the field work students learn some theory related to the future field work that they plan to undertake. They then sit for a test and an interview to ensure they are ready and competent for the task. After the field work students analyse the data collected during their field work using robust methodologies and appropriate software. These analyses are assessed and then returned to the students who use them to produce a technical report for the NGO. Before it is handed over this is assessed and students are permitted to make corrections required to make the report suitable for its purpose. This iterative process ensures the students receive constructive criticism and learn to use the assessment to improve their reports. As a result, the final products are of high quality. Students also submit a short diary of their experiences for all field work but only produce a full written report for a module of their choice.
Students are able to (1) understand the theory behind the fauna surveys that they are going to conduct; (2) organise and conduct fauna surveys in collaboration with community groups; (3) analyse wildlife survey data to produce estimates of populations densities or other population parameters as appropriate for the fieldwork that they have conducted and submit a report on this; and (4) prepare a professional report to be submitted to the community group.
Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) pre-field work theory is tested with an interview and a test; (2) field work diary; and (3) data analysis and report to NGO. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Roberta Bencini
Unit rules
SCIE4402 Data Management and Analysis in the Natural Sciences
Advisable prior study:
undergraduate units in Ecology or Wildlife
Approved quota: 35—based on academic merit
Contact hours
lectures: 1 per week; plus self-paced field work with community groups
This unit is recognised by the University as a service learning unit. Service learning refers specifically to community engagement activities that are embedded in units of study, being structured and assessed as formal educational experiences.

The students are required to participate in minimum of two field trips in order to acquire a good understanding of fauna survey techniques.
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