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 aims to develop a critical approach to current issues in conservation biology. It examines the following five broad themes: (1) What biodiversity is there? How did it get there (evolutionary history)? Which processes maintain it? (2) Why should we conserve it? (3) What are the threatened genes, species and communities? (4) What are the threatening processes? (5) What actions can be taken to conserve biodiversity? Students are aware of the fundamental linkages between good science and conservation management and the critical engagement between government, universities, business and the community in generating effective conservation outcomes. The unit also introduces students to fundamental science and scientific thinking and approaches to problem solving in ecology, population genetics, species biology and decision theory that underpin modern conservation biology.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 1AlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Conservation Biology; Wildlife Conservation major sequences
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of different concepts of biodiversity and the consequences of these concepts for conservation; (2) articulate why conserving biodiversity is essential (utilitarian and intrinsic values); (3) provide examples of threatened species and ecosystems and their protection by legislation; (4) name the major processes threatening Australian and global biodiversity and the consequences of interacting threats; (5) explain current efforts to prevent species extinctions and the role of economic drivers of conservation decisions and outcomes; and (6) critically analyse available data and literature on a specified plant or animal group, and how conservation-related organisations contribute to species recovery.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) class workshop and case study on a threatened species (individual); (2) report on the conservation management of a plant or animal taxon (group report and presentation); and (3) final examination covering lectures and visit with conservation organisations. 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 Pieter Poot and Dr Robin Hare
Unit rules
Successful completion of
Unit(s) BIOL1130 Frontiers in Biology (ID 1254)
or Unit(s) BIOL1131 Plant and Animal Biology (ID 1244)
Contact hours
Lectures: 2 hours per week
Practical sessions: up to 3 hours per week
  • 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.