BIOS3123 - Conservation in Practice

BIOS3123 - Conservation in Practice is a practical course where students get to take part in real conservation projects for course credit! This is an intensive field-based course which is run in conjunction with the management of endangered species. Students receive advanced practical training in monitoring techniques associated with the focus conservation program.The species that students work with depends on which semester the course is taken.

Student participate in all aspects of these management surveys and develop a realistic understanding of the financial and logistical constraints placed on conservation management strategies and the facilitation of sustainable conservation management programs. If you like to practical science that actually helps to save a species, then this is the course for you!

Please note: this course has a mandatory field trip that will incur costs to students (cost varies depending on project undertaken).

Session 2, 2017

Study level: Undergraduate

6 units of credit

Current handbook entry Current timetable 2015 Course outline - Turtles
2016 Course outline - Wallabies

Who should I contact?

Coordinator: Jaz Lawes

What does this course cover?

Please note: the topics covered change depending on the semester you take the course (and the endangered species you are helping to save).

NEW PROJECT! Building a Bilby sanctuary with Taronga Western Plains Zoo! (Semester 2 from 2017)

  1. Help gather baseline data this year of a sanctuary that is being newly restored (by YOU!) 
  2. Feral management - predators and competitors
  3. Fire ecology and management 
  4. Habitat monitoring and management - using a drone!
  5. Project management for targeted species
  6. Budget development
  7. Recovery plan for an endangered species

Bridled nailtail wallaby (Semester 2 - until 2016) 

  1. Flora and fauna of brigalow woodland (birds, macropods, plants)
  2. Wallaby trapping and health assessment (taking several health parameters necessary to maintain and manage an endangered population)
  3. Feral predator and competitor management - Predator activity and tracking
  4. Bridled nailtail wallaby biology, history and current status  
  5. Literature review
  6. Development of a recovery plan including a budget

Flatback turtle nesting survey (Summer session) 

  1. Turtle tracking, turtle processing and health assessment
  2. Egg count within a clutch
  3. Climate change and turtles
  4. Recovery and restoration programs 
  5. Turtle biology and current research
  6. Development of a recovery plan including a budget

How does this course fit into my degree?

This is a Stage 3 course.

This course prepares students for real-world conservation projects, and produces industry-ready graduates!

The following courses complement or augment BIOS3123: 

Is there assumed prior knowledge or a co-requisite?

Assumed Knowledge: BIOS1101 and BEES2041 would be helpful for students wishing to take this course, but any two BIOS or BEES courses will fill prerequisite requirements.

Are there mandatory activities for this course?

This course involves a compulsory week long field trip that will incur additional expenses to individual students. Costs incurred by students change depending on the project they undertake (that is, which semester the student enrols in the course):

Semester 2, 2017 - Building a Bilby Sanctuary

Compulsory 5-day field trip (9-14 July, 2017): Costs estimated at $280, not including return train fare to Dubbo (fare prices TBC in early May).

Summer Semester - Flatback Turtle Conservation

Compulsory 7-day field trip (end of November / early December 2017): Costs estimated at $1700, including flights to Mackay and charter flights to Avoid Island.

Is there anything else I should know?

These courses require:

  • Adaptive, hands-on learning;
  • Team work;
  • Collaboration;
  • A moderate level of fitness; and
  • A positive, robust attitude when tired (students will often be working at night).

This course is available to students in Advanced Science (3972), Science (3970) and their associated Dual Degrees, with a preference given to students in the Ecology Major. Unfilled places are available to students in Environmental Management (3965), Life Science (3966) with preference given to students in Biology or Ecology Majors with a credit average.

I took this course some time ago, and need proof of what was covered.

2016 course outline (wallabies)

2015 course outline (wallabies)

2015 course outline (turtles)

2014 course outline (wallabies)

2014 course outline (turtles)

Student perspectives

Find out what alumni of BIOS3123 - Conservation in Practice thought about this course.


NB: All information provided on this page is superseded by information provided by the course coordinator or lecturer(s).