Introduced Species

Module 4 Human Impacts


The information on these pages will help teachers and students undertaking the Year 11 Earth and Environmental Science program Introduced Species.

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

The Year 11 Earth and Environment program Introduced Species will provide students with an opportunity to learn about the impact of foxes on native species, with special reference to the Southern Brown Bandicoot, to help answer the inquiry question:

How do introduced species affect the Australian environment and ecosystems?

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)

Earth and Environmental Science Syllabus

Red Fox Information

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

Pest Animals – Foxes

Fox Fact Sheet

Fox Fact Sheet 2

Baiting for Fox Control

Fox Abatement Plan 2001

Fox Abatement Plan 2010

Red Fox footage at Bobbin Head, 5 December 2016

Southern Brown Bandicoot (SBB) Information

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

Native Animal Facts – SBB

Threatened Species Profile – SBB

Animal Profile – SBB

Vegetation type profile preferred by SBBs

SBB Recovery Plan

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

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.

Soil Moisture

Soil moisture is a limiting factor in the growth of plants.

Equipment – No equipment


    1. Pick-up a sample of soil in your hand from the sampling site.
    1. Feel the soil and mix it around in your hand.
    1. Using a scale of 1-10, estimate the soil moisture. 1 being the driest, 10 being dripping wet.
  1. Record the result on your field worksheet.
Soil Temperature

Soil temperature is critical in the germination of seeds and the rate and duration of plant growth

Equipment – probe thermometer


    1. Remove cover from thermometer probe
    1. Insert the thermometer probe into the soil
    1. Turn on the thermometer
    1. Measure and record in degrees Celsius
  1. Repeat the procedure three times and record the average
Air Temperature

Air temperature is a limiting factor upon plant and animal species.

Air humidity is important for the sustainability of forest ecosystems. Air humidity influence the amount of mangrove litter in forms of leaves, twigs and other biomass.


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


    1. Locate the Kestrel weather meter
    1. Take off the cover
    1. Hold the middle button to turn on
    1. Scroll right until you find dEC (degrees celsius)
    1. Hold the Kestrel above your site, away from your body
    1. When the reading stabilises (stops going up or down), record your measurement in degrees celsius
  1. Carefully replace the case and return your equipment
Light Intensity

Plants convert sunlight energy into organic matter through the process of photosynthesis. Sunlight intensity and duration influences the levels of photosynthetic productivity.


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


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

Wind speed and direction affects the temperature and humidity of an area.


Equipment – anemometer (part of a kestrel instrument)


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

Depth Study

There are a range of ways students can build on the knowledge obtained during the fieldwork day to investigate further through a depth study.

Camera Footage Analysis

Wildlife cameras are used by NPWS to do:

  • ‘Resource condition monitoring’ that aims to detect trends over time at a landscape scale for widespread non-threatened species such as  wombats and wallabies; and
  • ‘Performance monitoring’ which aims to answer species-specific questions, typically at a more localised scale.​

Students may wish to analyse footage of cameras that have been set up in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park to detect SBBs.

Students can analyse the footage of camera footage at 4 sites within the park during 2015-18. Through this analysis, they can determine what type of fauna was detected, whether there was a presence of the endangered SBB and what introduced species were recorded.

To access the camera footage click here.

Recovery Plan Evaluation

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

Investigate a Research Question

Alternatively, the following depth study question can be researched:

What impact would increases in the local population have on Red Fox and Southern Brown Bandicoot populations?

Research the Recovery Plan of Another Endangered Animal

Students may wish to investigate the threat of foxes to another endangered animal. Click here for the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act list of threatened species.


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 – Red Fox

—-– reasons for introducing the species

—-– area affected by the species

—-– humans impacts that favour the introduced species

—-– different control or mitigation methods

—-– economic impacts of the species

3. Background Information – Southern Brown Bandicoot (SBB)

—-– profile of the SBB

—-– impact of foxes on populations

—-– the recovery plan

4. Case Study: Fox 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