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Illawarra Environmental Education Centre

Illawarra Environmental Education Centre

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Yr 11 Depth study - Introduced Species

Introduced Species -  impact on coastal dunes

Year 11 Earth and Environmental Science



Minnamurra Spit, Minnamurra

Inquiry and focus questions

How do introduced species affect the Australian environment and ecosystems?

Program overview

Students begin their research with an in-class questioning and predicting work package based upon a supplied lesson plan and student work booklet, introducing their investigation of three local introduced species: bitou bush, lantana and asparagus fern. The fieldwork day allows students to develop an hypothesis and conduct an investigation into the current state of the introduced species affected coastal dune ecosystem of Minnamurra Spit. Students investigate and apply a range of land management techniques, and collect first hand data to analyse their relative effectiveness.  Back at school students may utilise their collected first hand data and extended research of secondary sources to assist the completion of a depth study outlining a potential plan of management of Minnamurra Spit into the future.

Learning Experiences 

Students identify and describe the physical features and adaptations of three introduced plant species.

They discuss field techniques such as quadrats and transects in relation to their relevance in collecting data to the use their pilot study and adaptations information to develop an hypothesis. The use of variables is also discussed

Students work in groups to conduct fieldwork investigations (transects and quadrats) distribution and abundance of native and introduced plant species.

They are guided through the investigation and application of management techniques (hand pulling, cut and paint etc).

The excursion concludes with data analysis (describing trends/patterns) and discussion on predicted impacts and mitigation strategies.

Supporting resources

Follow the links to the following resources for both teachers and students.

Key syllabus outcomes

Earth and Environmental Science Yr 11

Human Impacts

  • outline the biotic and abiotic effects of introduced species
  • conduct an investigation into a local introduced species, including: 
    • analyse ways in which human activity can upset the balance of ecosystems and favour introduced species
    • describe ways in which introduced species contribute to the decline or extinction of native Australian species (ACSES081