Hobart and William Smith Queensland Term 1996

Academic Program

  1. Introduction
  2. Lecturer Profiles
  3. Course Descriptions
  4. Guest Lecturers
  5. Field Work
  6. Resources: Biodiversity and the Australian Environment


Four courses comprised the formal academic program of the 1996 HWS Term in Queensland. The course titles were: (1) The Biology of Australian Plants and Animals, (2) Australian Culture and Society, and finally statistics courses taught at two different levels (3) Bio 212 Biostatistics and (4) Bio 312 Advanced Biostatistics.

Two faculty from the University of Queensland, Dr David Yates of the Department of Botany and Dr Ian Tibbetts of the School of Marine Science, provided the core of lectures for the Australian Plants and Animals course, supplemented by guest lecturers. The Australian Society and Culture Course was taught by Dr Richard Nile, head of the Australian Studies Program at the University of Queensland. The statistics courses were taught by Dr Thomas Glover of the Department of Biology and Dr Kevin Mitchell of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Fish identification in the Coral Gardens at Lady Elliot Island.

Lecturer Profiles

Dr Ian Tibbetts

Raised in the south west of England, Ian spent his early years fossicking on the shores of the English Channel. He pursued his interest in marine life by taking an honours degree in Marine Biology at the University of Wales and then travelled to Australia to commence a Ph.D. in Zoology.

Alongside the research for his thesis, Ian became involved in teaching marine biology, both to undergraduate students and to visitors to Australia. Various opportunities led to him to continue his involvement with community and undergraduate education, and work for the Australian Government fisheries research organization. For a period, Ian was involved in the management of educational travel programs with the TraveLearn unit at The University of Queensland.

Upon completion of his PhD studies on the biology and ecology of garfish he took a lecturing position in the School of Marine Sciences at the University of Queensland where he currently administers the business of the School, gives undergraduates lectures on marine biology and supervises postgraduate students in fish biology and ecology.

Marine zoologist Ian Tibbetts discusses field projects with students on Lady Elliot Island (1994).

He is currently the Secretary of the Australian Coral Reef Society and Editor of the Australian Marine Science Bulletin. He lives near the shores of Moreton Bay with his three children, Daniel, Hannah, and Rachel.

Dr David Yates

David Yates has been a member of the Botany Department at The University of Queensland for 17 years and a university teacher for over 20 years. He holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and Doctor of Philosophy Degrees from The University of Melbourne and has almost completed a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Further Education and Training).

David is a keen teacher and teaches science and agricultural science students in a variety of subjects relating to plants and their environment, aspects of plant ecophysiology and rainforest biology. His doctoral research related to the importance of the angle of sunlight on the leaves of crop plants. His current research interests include aspects of the microclimate of rainforests and how light interacts with plant leaves.

Botanist David Yates with students at Mt Coot-tha.

He lived and worked in Indonesia for two and a half years and has returned there several times. He recently returned from conducting his second Indonesian Study Tour for botany, ecology and agricultural science students.

David is married to Jill who works teaching English to newly arrived migrant children for the Queensland Government. She also acted as a leader of the Indonesian Study Tours. They have two sons, one of whom is taking the second year of a Bachelor of Engineering degree, and the other is still in High School.

Students developed a very close relationship with both Yates and Tibbetts (first name basis), which was fostered by the field trips. It was clear that Yates and Tibbetts had the needs of the HWS students foremost in the design of the program.

Course Descriptions

Biol 231: Australian Plants and Animals

The flora and fauna endemic to the Australian continent were the primary foci of the course. Through the four major field trips, habitats such as the Great Barrier Reef, rainforests, and the Bush were studied in detail. The plants and animals course was reorganized as an Australian marine and terrestrial biology course since each of the field trips had a distinct marine or terrestrial focus which always included a plant and an animal component.

Assessment: Grading for the course was based on a poster project describing the natural history of one of the program's field sites, a final exam (see below), a report based on the terrestrial field exercises carried out at Stradbroke Island and Lamington, and an individual or small group project based on the marine field work carried out on Stradbroke and Lady Elliot Islands.

Study Areas for the Final Exam in Biology 231

The Final Examination in this subject will involve three sections, one relating to Marine topics, one to Terrestrial topics, and one with more general questions. Each question will comprise two sections, both of which you must answer. That is, there is no choice on the examination paper. To provide some guidance for you, nine questions are provided below, categorised into the three areas of the examination. Three questions are given in each area, of which only two will occur on the examination paper. These questions are prepared to give you the opportunity to draw on the widest possible sources you may have available at your disposal. Students are encouraged to discuss these questions amongst themselves prior to the examination.
  1. Marine
  2. Terrestrial
  3. General

The Final Paper for the Terrestrial Component of Biology 231:

The material for this may be drawn from any material presented in lectures, field trips, books or papers you have read, or indeed any reliable source. The aim of this exercise is for you to integrate and apply some of the information you obtain. The primary tasks you will undertake in the essay are described below.

Examples of two papers are Light Characteristics in Open-forest and Closed-forest Communities by Christine Parker and Fauna Species Diversity of the Subtropical Rainforest of Lamington National Park versus that of the Schlerophyll Forest of North Stradbroke Island by Jackie Lamme.

The Projects for the Marine Component of Biology 231

Topics for the final projects for the marine component were selected by the students in consultation with the faculty for the program. Some students worked alone, others in groups of two or three.

Preliminary reports for each project were given at Lady Elliot Island. Here Mike Conn '97, Rebecca Price '97, and Todd Pauliny '97 report on their project involving crab behavior. Groups reported on the projects they completed at Lady Elliot, many of which involved a comparison study at Stradbroke Island.

Project topics included:

For examples of papers, see Migration of Gastropods by Steve Smith and Branching patterns of coral by Mike Markzon.

Bids 233: Australian Society and Culture

Dr Richard Nile, Director of the University of Queensland's Australian Studies Program, provided all of the lectures for the course. The lectures and the reader that he developed for the course examined the following topics: Assessment: Grading for the course was based on a proposal and annotated bibliography for a final paper and the final paper itself. The topics for the papers were selected in consultation with Dr Nile. For example, Chris Parker's final paper was An Investigation of The Australian Passion For Sport

Guest Lecturers

Though Yates and Tibbetts were in charge of the biology and biodiversity courses, much of the lecturing in Brisbane was carried out by guest lecturers (17 in all). The local staff lectured on areas of their own particular expertise, so students had a wonderful opportunity to hear first-rate people. The complete list of guest lecturers and their topics, including those at field locations, follows.

Field Work

The cornerstone of the HWS Queensland Term was field work. The field sites were the laboratory facilities for the program, not just "add ons" or excursions. Included in the program were four major working field trips. For each trip, there were preparatory and/or on site lectures. At each location, human pressures on the particular ecosystem and management of resources were discussed.

A five day trip to North Stradbroke Island

Here students use a seine net at high tide at Polka Point. Both day and night seinings were done at consecutive high tides with the data collected showing much more activity by a wider variety of species at night. Species captured during the day were mullet, garfish, whiting, flathead, porcupine fish, and silver biddy. Those caught at night included mullet, hardy head, gerres, garfish, whiting, bream, flathead, puffer fish, cuttlefish, and small rays.

A five day trip to Lamington National Park

Here students collected data to using the point-centered quarter method to determine the relative importance of various tree species in disturbed areas.

A five day trip to Lady Elliot Island

Among the many spectacular sites seen while snorkeling at Lady Elliot were loggerhead turtles which use the island as a nesting site.

A six day trip to Carnarvon Gorge (Saddler Springs, Mt. Moffat)

Gavin Enevra of the Queensland National Parks Service discuss the effects of human impact on the sacred sites of the aboriginal peoples that once lived in the Mt Moffat section of Carnarvon National Park.

There were also three half-day field trips in the program. The first was to Mt Coot-tha, a 20-minute drive from the University of Queensland campus. Our work there consisted of a series of data collection exercises that introduced students to techniques that they would use later in the program. The second half-day excursion was to the University of Queensland Veterinary Farm for a lecture on marsupial biology and some "hands on" interaction with koalas. The final trip was a visit to the Queensland Parliament.

Resources: Biodiversity and the Australian Environment

Return to the Home Page for Hobart and William Smith Colleges' 1996 Queensland Term
Author: Kevin Mitchell (mitchell@hws.edu)
Last Update: 18 June 1997