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 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.