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Royal National Park Environmental Education Centre

Royal National Park Environmental Education Centre

Telephone02 9542 1951

Emailroyalnatpk-e.school@det.nsw.edu.au

Biology - Platypus depth study

Module 3 (adaptations)

Platypus disappeared from the Royal National Park in the 1970s. In May 2023, six female and four male platypuses were released back into the Royal National Park. Platypus is a sensitive species that requires specific biotic and abiotic factors in order to survive and reproduce. They are particularly vulnerable to human impacts, including pollution, predation by invasive species, habitat loss and defragmentation, litter entanglement and climate change. This fieldwork excursion collects biotic and abiotic data along Kangaroo Creek and/or the Hacking River in the Royal National Park. Use this data along with secondary sources to assess the suitability of habitat for the platypus and predict the success of the release program.

This excursion contributes 5 hours to a depth study.

Key syllabus outcomes:

A student:

  • designs and evaluates investigations in order to obtain primary and secondary data and information BIO11/12-2
  • communicates scientific understanding using suitable language and terminology for a specific audience or purpose BIO11-7
  • describes biological diversity by explaining the relationships between a range of organisms in terms of specialisation for selected habitats and evolution of species BIO11-10

Inquiry questions:

  • How do adaptations increase the organism's ability to survive?
  • How do environmental pressures promote a change in species diversity and abundance?

Learning activities may include:

  • identify and describe structural adaptations of platypus
  • measure and record abiotic and biotic factors to assess habitat
  • measure and record abiotic factors to assess water quality
  • dipnet to survey macroinvertebrates and complete streamwatch quality assessment
  • observe and describe some impacts of human activity on platypus
  • use GPS devices to record factors that may be a threat to platypus (e.g., litter, feral animal tracks or scats)
  • collect litter and link to impact on platypus

Excursion sites:

This excursion can take place at various sites along the Hacking River or Kangaroo Creek, with or without a bushwalk, such as:

  • Allambie Flat and/or Currawong Flat
  • Currawong Flat return walk to Kangaroo Creek along Engadine Track (approximately 3 km return, with some steep sections)