ENVT2221 Global Climate Change and Biodiversity

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 major sequence
  • Level 2 core unit in the Biology specialisation in the Environmental Science major sequence
  • Level 2 complementary unit in the Natural Resource Management major sequence
  • Level 2 complementary unit in the Coastal and Ocean Systems specialisation in the Marine Science major sequence
  • Level 2 complementary unit in the Marine Biology specialisation in the Marine Science major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit are Life and Health Sciences, Management and Commerce
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • 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)
BIOL1131 Plant and Animal Biology
EART1105 The Dynamic Planet
ENVT1104 Environmental Science and Technology; for pre-2012 courses: any Level 1 BIOL unit
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.
  • 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 at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.