Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit explores diversity of form and function of animals, plants and fungi, in marine, freshwater and terrestrial habitats. It considers their origins, taxonomic relationships, structural, physiological and behavioural adaptations, their lifestyles, reproductive modes and life history strategies. There is an emphasis on how these characteristics allow living organisms to exploit a wide range of environmental conditions, and on the impact of changes in those conditions, through either natural occurrences or anthropogenic effects. It provides the basic knowledge required for field-based biology such as ecology, eco-physiology or environmental management. The unit provides a comprehensive introduction to organismal biology and demonstrates the process of biological enquiry via engaging students in a project.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 2AlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Conservation Biology; Zoology; Botany; Agricultural Science; Environmental Science; Agricultural Science and Technology; Wildlife Conservation; Integrated Earth and Marine Sciences; Environmental Science and Management; Marine Science; Marine Biology; Marine and Coastal Processes; Agribusiness and Agricultural Science; Environmental Science and Ecology; Biodiversity and Evolution; Plant Biology major sequences
  • Level 1 elective

Students are able to (1) recall and articulate the diversity of ways that living organisms live and how functional adaptations allow organisms to exploit a wide range of environmental conditions; (2) understand how knowledge of biological processes can be used to make management decisions in natural or altered ecosystems; (3) describe how structural, physiological and behavioural adaptations allow organisms to exploit a wide range of environmental conditions; (4) demonstrate the principles of experimental design and analysis through application to practical exercises and assignments; (5) demonstrate critical thinking through practical assessments; and (6) work cooperatively in practical classes, handling biological materials and equipment in a proficient and safe manner.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) individual continuous assessment of lecture content and practical work and (2) a final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Renee Catullo {00104354} ~ Professor Pauline Grierson {00029671}
Unit rules
Advisable prior study
BIOL1130 Frontiers in Biology
or WACE Biological Sciences
or TEE Biology
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
practical or group work sessions: 3 hours per week (approximately)
Students who have not taken BIOL1130 Frontiers in Biology can find suggested preliminary reading in the unit outline.

Ladiges, P. et al. Biology: an Australian Focus, 5th edn: McGraw-Hill 2014

  • 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.