Ecosystem Dynamics

Southern Brown Bandicoots

Stage 6 Biology Module 3, 4 and Depth Studies








The information on these pages will help teachers and students undertaking the Year 11 Biology program Ecosystem Dynamics – Southern Brown Bandicoot.

This program can be completed as stand alone fieldwork or combined with pre and post visit research to complete a Depth Study.

The program will provide students with an opportunity to investigate the Southern Brown Bandicoot, to help answer the inquiry questions:

What effect can Southern Brown Bandicoots have on other species in a community?

How can human activity impact on an ecosystem?

The program  is made up of three components:

1. Pre visit research
2. Fieldwork (at Bobbin Head)
3. Post visit and Depth Study (optional)

As indicated, the program can contribute up to 12 hours for those wishing to use this to complete a depth study.

Please ensure students complete the pre-visit work before attending. This site contains information, links and resources that will assist completing this task.

Teacher Programming Outline

Download the pre-visit student booklet

Download the student fieldwork booklet (please print a copy for each student)

Biology Syllabus

Southern Brown Bandicoot (SBB) Information

The following resources will assist students to complete the pre-visit worksheet prior to the visit.

Threatened Species Profile – SBB

Survey Methods and Threats

Vegetation type profile preferred by SBBs

SBB Recovery Plan

Fox Abatement Plan 2001

Role in ecosystems

SBB and red fox footage. Source

The Study Site

The following resources will assist students to complete the pre-visit worksheet prior to the visit.

Google Map

Drone Footage at Bobbin Head

Further Resources

National Parks website

Historic Images of Bobbin Head (in google docs – open through gsuite)

Risk Assessment for working near Bobbin Head

Planning Investigations

The following information and resources will assist students to complete the pre-visit worksheet prior to the visit.

Context and Purpose

To determine the suitability of a site to introduce fox mitigation, scientists must first determine the presence of an endangered animal.

In the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, National Parks and Wildlife (NPWS) officers have a program for fox mitigation to protect the Southern Brown Bandicoot (SBB).

To determine the presence of SBB populations in an area, random GPS points are generated. Wildlife cameras are installed at those sites that are determined to be targeted sites – sites that have abiotic and biotic features most suitable to the SBB.

If cameras determine the presence of the animal, a fox abatement program may be developed. Ongoing monitoring is used to investigate the success of the program.

Fieldwork Inquiry Task

During the fieldwork program, students will be investigating the abiotic and biotic features of two sites to determine which is the better site to erect a wildlife camera to capture footage of SBB’s.

Use the links below to gain a understanding of the abiotic and biotic features of SBB habitat.

Further Resources

SBB habitat and ecology

Forest features of SBBs in Sydney Basin

Survey Methods and Threats

Measuring Abiotics

The following abiotic factors may be measured during the fieldwork inquiry. Please visit the Gibberagong youtube channel for instructional videos for each abiotic procedure.


Equipment – Clinometer


  1. You will need two people, roughly the same height
  2. Stand facing each other at the top and bottom of the gradient you need to measure
  3. One person holds the clinometer to their eye and aims it at the other persons eye
  4. Gently squeeze the trigger until the protractor hangs freely
  5. Release the trigger
  6. Read the gradient of the slope in degrees opposite the swinging arrow

Equipment – Compass


  1. Hold the compass flat on the palm of your hand
  2. The RED arrow always points to North
  3. The aspect is the direction the slope faces, which way is downhill?
Soil Temperature

Equipment – probe thermometer


  1. Remove cover from thermometer probe
  2. Insert the thermometer probe into the soil
  3. Turn on the thermometer
  4. Measure and record in degrees Celsius
  5. Repeat the procedure three times and record the average
Soil pH

Equipment – Soil pH kit


  1. Get a small pinch of soil (not leaf litter) and place it in the centre of the white square of plastic
  2. Sprinkle some barium sulphate onto the soil
  3. Place a few drops of universal indicator fluid onto the barium sulphate
  4. Wait until the colour changes then compare it to the colour chart. This is your soil pH
Soil Texture

Equipment – Soil Texture guide


see Soil Texture Guide for details

Air Temperature and Humidity


Equipment – thermometer (temperature) and hygrometer (humidity) – one piece of equipment will measure both


  1. Take off the cover
  2. Hold the middle button to turn on
  3. Scroll right until you find dEC (temperature) or % (humidity)
  4. Hold the Kestrel above your site, away from your body
  5. When the reading stabilises (stops going up or down), record your measurement for either temperature or humidity
  6. Carefully replace the case and return your equipment
Light Intensity


Equipment – A Light Meter (unit of measurement = lux)


  1. Remove the cover
  2. Hold the sensor 1m above the ground over the quadrat
  3. Turn on, record reading
  4. Multiply the result if necessary
  5. Repeat 3 times to calculate an average
  6. Turn off and return to pouch
Wind speed


Equipment – anemometer (part of a kestrel instrument)


  1. Locate the Kestrel weather meter
  2. Take off the cover
  3. Hold the middle button to turn on
  4. Scroll right until you find km/h AVG (Average Wind Speed)
  5. Hold the Kestrel for 1 minute at your site, away from your body
  6. After 1 minute record your measurement in km/h
  7. Carefully replace the case and return your equipment

Depth Study

Further investigate the inquiry or commence a particular inquiry or area of interest inspired or prompted by the original investigation. For example, you may wish to evaluate the Southern Brown Bandicoot Recovery Plan

Alternatively, the following depth study questions can be researched:

What impact would increases in the local population have on Southern Brown Bandicoot populations and how can this be determined?

What impact would a reduction in Southern Brown Bandicoot populations have on the local ecosystem and how can this be measured?


Prepare and deliver a communication piece. This could include:

  • a 5-6 minute documentary on the results of your fieldwork
  • a report to communicate your findings
  • a ICT visual communication form to present your findings (eg PowerPoint, Prezi)

You should include in your communication the following:

  1. Introduction

—-– introduce the issue and the inquiry

2. Background Information – Southern Brown Bandicoot (SBB)

—-– profile of the SBB

—-– adaptations

—-– niche

—-– threats

—-– sampling techniques used to measure SBB populations

—-– current recovery plan

4. Case Study: SBB Management at Bobbin Head

—-– context

—-– fieldwork purpose and inquiry

—-– spatial information about the National Park and the fieldwork site

—-– fieldwork methods, data and findings

—-– discussion of the validity, reliability and possible sources of error in the data