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Sustainability@CDU and student life

Undergraduate opportunities

Students can undertake formal or informal learning pathways. The following are some of the ways that CDU undergraduates and post graduates can be involved. Further information will be added to this area in the near future.


The Envirocollective is a student-run group that has enables students to gain skills and friendships while working on environment and sustainability related projects. Students interested in joining can find their Facebook page.

CUC100 - Academic literacies through exploring sustainability

 This unit focuses on developing students' academic literacies.

Through this unit you will begin to develop the skills and confidence to think critically, research, read, write and present ideas in a range of modes. This is achieved through the articulation of an academically credible understanding of a central theme, sustainability, which significantly impacts our lives in the 21st century.

As part of the development of your academic literacies, you'll build on your awareness of the skills and requirements for success at university. Further information can be found here.

ENV303 - Ecological Restoration and Conservation

This unit gives students a comprehensive introduction to the ecological processes that affect the conservation and restoration of vegetation, wildlife and landscapes.

A focus of the unit is on the rehabilitation of northern Australian systems but south-east Asian and other Australian examples are discussed. It builds upon first-level and second-level biology units by developing the students' ability to apply biological and ecological knowledge to real land rehabilitation and species conservation issues.

Issues range from the creation of stable vegetation communities on mined land, the rehabilitation of pastoral land, to the restoration of specific fauna habitat or the maintenance of threatened flora and fauna populations.

Students will understand key ecological processes affecting plant growth, ecosystem sustainability and community development and how to utilise those processes by effective environmental management to achieve rehabilitation and ecological management aims.

Assessment items develop the report writing skills a student would require as a professional working in this field.

ENV103 - Environmental Issues

This unit investigates current global and national environmental issues from ecological, economic, social and cultural perspectives.

Issues studied include global warming, overpopulation, loss of productive land, biodiversity conservation and environmental quality. National and local case studies are used to explore the issues of conservation of natural habitats, and conservation of culturally significant areas versus development.

It is suitable for students from a wide range of disciplines since it aims to investigate and compare the approach that various disciplines have developed to interpret and address these problems.

ENV206 - Environmental Physiology

This unit focuses on plant and animal adaptation to their environments and explores the physiological processes that enable survival. Relationships between structure and functioning of animals and plants are discussed with a focus on gas exchange, nutrient uptake and water balance.

This unit builds upon first-year studies in biology and prepares students for biology and ecology units at third-level. It provides essential background for students interested in agriculture, horticulture, land management and wildlife conservation. 

It includes an experiment which looks at the effects of salinity on plant growth and implications of climate change on plant physiology are discussed.

ENV204 - Ecosystems, Evolution and Biodiversity

This unit develops the student's understanding of biological diversity within all major ecosystems, and of the tools needed to study and analyse biodiversity.

All Australian and global ecosystems are discussed, with a special focus on the Australian tropics and deserts, as well as the Asian tropics. A key aspect of this unit is the study of evolution, biogeography, modern species concepts and taxonomy.

The practical component of the unit focuses on the identification of Top End plants and animals, using a range of tools, and includes local excursions. Such skills are essential for government natural resource managers, environmental consultants, museum/ herbarium curators and weeds officers.

It includes discussion of threatened species and species ability to adapt to climate change.

ENV302 - Organisms and Environmental Change

This unit will examine the physiological and behavioural responses of organisms to their environments from the perspective of individuals, populations and communities.

This unit provides vital background on animal and plant responses to changing environments, including global warming, for students interested in global change biology, land management and wildlife conservation, and is suitable for any student interested in environmental science and management.

We expect students to interpret and analyse data critically, draw conclusions and fit them into their prior knowledge, and communicate these ideas with biologists and non-biologists. Tutorials and web discussion groups maximise opportunities for the students to discuss concepts with academic staff.

The unit is taught by several staff members who are active researchers in plant and animal physiological and behavioural ecology in tropical and desert environments. Discussions about the topic will include current research and the implications of the concepts for research and environmental management in the Northern Territory and south-east Asia.

ENG417 - Sustainability

Sustainability is one of the biggest driving forces in many core business strategies and operations. This unit deals with sustainability issues as related to the engineering profession, information technology, information systems and the wider community. The integration of sustainability into day to day operations and its impact on an organisation and society in general will be investigated, with an emphasis on climate change and ecological footprint. This unit uses online materials including the electronic submission of assessment items. Students must have access to a reliable high-speed broadband connection and a scanner.

Casuarina campus bushland surveys conducted by students and volunteers

Students are involved every year in surveys of the campus bushland flora and fauna. Surveys undertaken in 2020 provided some excellent photos of the biodiversity on Casuarina campus.

Black footed tree rat
Black footed tree rat
Brush-tail possum mum and baby
Brush tail possum
Brush tail possum mum and baby
Dingo 2020

2019 frogs recorded:

  • Litoria rothi - Roth’s tree frog
  • Litoria caerulea - Green Tree Frog
  • Litoria rubella - Red tree frog
  • Limnodynastes convexiusculus – Marble Frog
Flora on campus
  • Rubiaceae Coelospermum reticulatum (Synonym Pogonolobus reticulatus)
  • Malvaceae Sterculia quadrifida
  • Loganiaceae Strychnos lucida
  • Kurrajong (Brachychiton megaphyllus)
  • Brachychiton diversifolius
  • Milkwood (Alstonia actinophylla)
  • Acacia dimidiata
  • Gardenia megasperma
  • Clothes Peg Grevillea (Grevillea decurrens)
  • Ironwood (Erythrophelum chlorostachys)
  • Cycad (Cycas armstrongii)
  • Kapok bush (Cochlospermum fraseri)
  • Apple Gum (Corymbia polysciada)
  • Bean Tree (Cathormion umbellatum)
  • Pink turkey bush (Calytrix exstipulata)
  • Buchanania (Buchanania obovata)
  • Exocarpus (Exocarpus latifolius)
  • Stringybark (Eucalyptus tetrodonta)
  • Sandpaper fig (Ficus opposita)
  • Coffee Bush (Leucaena leucocephala)
  • Sand palm (Livistona humilis)
  • Red Paperbark (Lophostemon lactifluus)
  • Micromelum (Micromelum minutum)
  • Pongamia (Millettia pinnata)
  • Pandanus (Pandanus spiralis)
  • Planchonia (Planchonia careya)
  • Speargrass (Sorghum intrans)
  •  Syzygium (Syzygium eucalyptoides)
  • Kakadu Plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana

Students and Sustainability@CDU

  • Launchpad - sustainability

    Sustainability, socialising and studying abroad: Shannon’s story

    As an NT local, Shannon always had her sights set on CDU for when she finished Year 12. She’s now in her fourth year of studying a Bachelor of Engineering/Master of Engineering (Civil & structural) at the Casuarina campus in Darwin.

    Read more
  • tips for eco friendly

    Top tips on being an eco-friendly student

    Being green probably isn’t high on your priority list. But, it should be! Why? It’s easy to make a few small changes that are good for the environment and good for the wallet. Let’s be honest, anything that saves money while you’re studying is going to be very handy!

    Read more
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