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 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.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 2AlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Conservation Biology; Wildlife Conservation; Marine Science; Environmental Management; Marine Biology; Molecular Life Sciences major sequences
  • Level 2 option in the Social and Environmental Sustainability major sequence
  • Level 2 elective

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.

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
one Unit(s) BIOL1130 Frontiers in Biology (ID 1254)
or Unit(s) BIOL1131 Plant and Animal Biology (ID 1244)
or Unit(s) EART1105 Dynamic Planet (ID 1247)
or Unit(s) ENVT1104 Environmental Science and Technology (ID 5950)
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.
  • 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.