ENVT2221 Global Climate Change and Biodiversity

6 points
(see Timetable)

If this unit does not have an online alternative, then students who are presently unable to enter Western Australia and whose studies would be delayed by an inability to complete this unit, should contact the unit coordinator (details given on this page) to ascertain, on an individual case-by-case basis, if alternate arrangements can be made to support their study in this unit.

Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face Predominantly face-to-face. On campus attendance required to complete this unit. May have accompanying resources online.
Semester 2AlbanyFace to face Predominantly face-to-face. On campus attendance required to complete this unit. May have accompanying resources online.
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Conservation Biology; Wildlife Conservation; Marine Science; Environmental Management; Marine Biology major sequences
  • Level 2 elective
This unit focuses on the concept that climate change can drive the evolution of biological diversity. It aims to explain the atmospheric processes that regulate the Earth's climate; the role of climate change in the evolution of the world's ecosystems; the human-induced changes that are occurring in the atmosphere; how these changes affect the global climate which in turn affects biodiversity; and the challenges of biodiversity conservation under climate change. Emphasis is placed on understanding the links between the atmosphere, climate and the world's ecosystems; how changes in climate can force species losses, migration and adaptation; what can be learned from vegetation response to past climate changes; the predicted impacts to biological diversity under projected greenhouse climates; and the conservation efforts that are required to mitigate these impacts.
Students are able to (1) describe the global-scale processes that regulate climate; (2) recall examples of speciation (i.e. the evolution of biological diversity) due to a change in climate; (3) differentiate between climate change over geological time scales (e.g. 20,000 years) and more recent human-induced climate change; (4) evaluate the evidence for human-induced climate change associated with increased emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere; (5) assess the relative effects of past and projected climate change on pathogens, plants and animals; (6) list some of the predicted impacts of projected climate change on biodiversity; (7) outline strategies that could be used to manage the impacts of climate change so as to conserve biodiversity; and (8) synthesise information from a variety of sources and present it in both written and verbal formats.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) student engagement (labs and quizzes); (2) Essay on a climate change related topic; and (3) a final examination. 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 final examination component.

Supplementary assessment is available in this unit for those students who obtain a mark of at least 45 overall provided they have also obtained a mark of at least 45 in a specified component of the unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Pieter Poot & Associate Professor Patrick Finnegan
Unit rules
BIOL1130 Frontiers in Biology (formerly BIOL1130 Core Concepts in Biology) or BIOL1131 Plant and Animal Biology or EART1105 The Dynamic Planet or ENVT1104 Environmental Science and Technology; for pre-2012 courses: any Level 1 BIOL unit or any Level 1 EART unit
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; labs/field trips: 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.