Category Archives: Unit 2 Biology

Succession in ecosystems


Learning Intention: Students will understand the process of ecological succession and be able to identify growth stages of a eucalypt forest.

Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) is an iconic Victorian species, the tallest flowering plant and the second tallest tree in the world, after the Californian redwood. It only germinates after hot and periodic bushfire, greater than 20 years apart. The forest goes through stages of growth:

  • Bushfire
  • Germination (1-8 weeks)
  • Seedlings (0-4 years)
  • Saplings (4-15 years)
  • Pole stage (15-30 years)
  • Spar stage (30-100 years)
  • Mature forest (100-300 years)
  • Old Growth Forest (300-400 years)

Forest Secrets – Stages of succession in Mountain Ash forests

Eucalyptus regnans on Wikipedia – Description, Tallest trees and Ecology.

Food webs and energy transfer


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Food chains illustrate the relationship between producers and consumers, showing the different trophic levels in an ecosystem. Because living organisms usually have more than one source of food, these food chains are often linked together, forming food webs. Food webs assist us to identify herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, scavengers, detritivores and decomposers in a community.

Not all relationships within an ecological community are predatory or feeding relationships. Some important relationships are parasitic, mutualistic (both organisms benefit), commensalism (one benefits, the other is not harmed) or parasitism (one benefits and the other is harmed, but usually not killed).

Reproductive Strategies


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Living organisms have evolved many different reproductive strategies to ensure their survival from generation to generation. Scientists sometimes categorize these strategies as “r-selected” (rapid, related to rate) or “K-selected” (related to carrying capacity). You can read a good comparison of r and K-strategies here: Reproductive strategies

Read the ABC Science article: Antechinus go out with a bang and then do “Part B: A case study in reproductive behaviour” on page 150 of your Jacaranda Activity Manual. If you finish, please do the Chapter 12 Review questions and the Activity manual “In Review” for Chapter 12.

Animal Behaviour


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Animal behaviour (ethology) is an interesting field of study that has fascinated biologists for hundreds of years. From Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Charles Darwin to Konrad Lorenz, Ivan Pavlov and Skinner, scientists have studied animals and wondered how their behaviour relates to humans.

  • Innate Behaviour – Reflexes, Kineses and Taxes (7.15 minute video)
  • Learned Behaviour – Imprinting, Habituation and Conditioning (6.24 minute video)
  • Animal behaviour (23.40 minute YouTube video) – What can we learn by using video cameras attached to animals or in their burrows to see the world from an animal’s perspective? Cameras were attached to reptiles, mammals and even insects to observe animal behaviour in their natural environment. These are animals from North America (wild turkeys, armadillo, moles and chickadees).
  • Produce a slideshow showing the structural, functional and behavioural adaptations of some Australian native animals. For example, koala, kangaroo, emu, echidna, crocodile, tiger snake, thorny devil, platypus or kookaburra.


Semester 2 Biology – Adaptations (Y11) and Heredity (Y12)



This semester we will be starting Unit 2 (Organisms in their Environment) Area of Study 1: Adaptations of Organisms and Unit 4 (Continuity and Change) Area of Study 1: Heredity. We have created Quizlet Sets for each of these topics:


VCE Biology 2015


  Welcome to VCE Biology for 2015! Biology is the study of all living organisms and life itself. So, what do all living organisms have in common?

  1. Living organisms are composed of cells and the products of cells
  2. Living organisms (usually) require oxygen and nutrients (inputs)
  3. Living organisms produce wastes (outputs)
  4. Living organisms respond to stimuli
  5. Living organisms reproduce


Unit 1: Area of Study 1: Cells in Action (Year 11)

In our first week of Year 11 Biology we will be looking at size and scale, using light microscopes and viewing plant and animal cells. Check out these websites:

Unit 3: Area of Study 1: Molecules of Life  (Year 12)

In our first week of Year 12 Biology we the chemical nature of cells. All living matter is made up primarily of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphoros, sulfur and nitrogen (CHOPSN). These elements are combined into compounds, with the four classes of biological macromolecules being carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. Which are which in the diagram below?