BIOL5502 Managing Threatened Species and Ecological Communities

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Multi-mode
Semester 2AlbanyMulti-mode
This unit examines the principles and challenges of managing threatened species and ecological communities (EC's), drawing from global examples, but with an in-depth and practical investigation of the Endangered Banksia Woodlands of the Swan Coastal Plain. In interactive lectures and discussion sessions students will learn how and why particular management decisions were taken, will analyse successes and failures, and will understand how ‘best practice' can be achieved via mechanisms such as the IUCN green listing process.
In close collaboration with the Western Australian Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), and relevant UWA researchers, students will conduct field research in Banksia woodlands near Perth. In so doing they will learn techniques for mammal surveys, population modelling, weed monitoring, and assigning condition indices, and will use these insights to prepare a case for a "green listing" assessment.
The unit aims to bring students into close contact with local experts and organizations involved in threatened species and communities management to enhance their expertise and employability, to contribute to long-term data collection within an iconic threatened ecological community, and to develop students' critical thinking and written and verbal communication skills.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate competence in fieldwork and analytical skills that relate to threatened species or communities management; (2) demonstrate awareness of global examples of threatened species management with a focus on recent research and initiatives; and (3) conduct relevant research on a threatened species to compile an IUCN green list assessment.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a portfolio of short assignments based on a field visit, computer laboratory and engagement with a visiting expert; (2) a verbal presentation describing and critiquing a long-term management program for a threatened species; and (3) a written report detailing an assessment against IUCN criteria for whether a threatened species meets standards for green listing. Further information is available in the unit outline.

To pass this unit, a student must: (a) achieve an overall mark of 50 per cent or higher for the unit; and (b) achieve the requisite requirements(s) or a mark of 50 per cent or greater, whichever is higher and specified in the unit outline, for the a written report detailing an assessment against IUCN criteria for whether a threatened species meets standards for green listing component.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Nicola Mitchell and Dr Pieter Poot
Unit rules
enrolment in Master of Biological Science (72520)
Master of Science (70630)
Bachelor of Science (Honours) (BH004)
Advisable prior study:
SCIE4402 Data Management and Analysis in the Natural Sciences
Approved quota: 30—based on academic merit
Incidental fees
Contact hours
One interactive lecture/tutorial per week followed by student-led interviews with conservation practitioners, formal presentations, or practicals. Fieldwork: Up to 15 hours in total, with flexibility in the timing of student-led fieldwork.


  • 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 via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.