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Biological Diversity - Darwin Down Under Stage 6

Charles Darwin visited Australia and the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney in 1836. He made some interesting observations about Australian Plants that formed the basis of his theories of natural selection. Scientists at the RBG continue to ask questions about the evolution, distribution and abundance of Australian plant species. Students will explore some of this recent research for key Australian plant species.


Stage 6 Biology


Rathborne Lodge
The Royal Botanic Garden
Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney


2 hours


Click here. Minimum charges apply. Discounts apply for full day programs!

Excursion key themes:

  • Explore Charles Darwin's observations of Australian plants.
  • Investigate current botanical research to explain the diversity, evolution and adapations of key Australian species.
  • Analyse primary and secondary resources to propose hypotheses for plant research.

Students will...

   Complete two or more of the following activities:
  • Activity 1: Wollemi under Pressure where they will examine changes to the distribution of the Wollemi Pine and what environmental pressures act on it. New DNA research now provides an update on the future of this significant species.
  • Activity 2: Eucalypts are Diverse where students observe the adaptations of four eucalypt species to explain how they have adapted to their environments. 
  • Activity 3: Prolific Proteaceae where students examine the symmetry of flowers and how recent DNA data has led to an understanding of the evolution of this family of plants.
  • Activity 4: Where has the Black Bean been? where students examine methods of seed dispersal and form hypotheses about the dispersal of the Black Bean tree. New research suggests that there is more to the story.

It was great to use plant samples and fossils that we don't have at school. Covered many dot points and consolidated information.

Teacher, Aquinas Catholic College

Module 3: Biological Diversity

Inquiry question: How do environmental pressures promote a change in species diversity and adundance?

      ● predict the effects of selection pressures on organisms in ecosystems, including: (ACSBL026, ACSBL090)
                      – biotic factors
                      – abiotic factors
      ● investigate changes in a population of organisms due to selection pressures over time

Inquiry question: How do adaptations increase the organism's ability to survive?

      ● conduct practical investigations, individually or in teams, or use secondary sources to examine the adaptations of organisms that increase their ability to survive in their environment, including:
                       – structural adaptations
                       – physiological adaptations
                       – behavioural adaptations
      ● investigate, through secondary sources, the observations and collection of data that were obtained by Charles Darwin to support the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, for example:
                       – Australian flora and fauna

Inquiry question: What is the relationship between evolution and biodiversity?

      ● explain, using examples, how Darwin and Wallace’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection accounts for:
                       – convergent evolution
                       – divergent evolution

Sustainable Development Goals

Through our education programs we aim to 
•    ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning (SDG 4)
•    demonstrate actions that work towards making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (SDG 11)
•    inform and empower students to preserve our forests and halt biodiversity loss (SDG 15)

Through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals we promote prosperity for the whole community, while protecting our planet for future generations.


We would like to acknowledge the Cadigal people of the Eora Nation within Sydney and pay our respect to Elders past, present and future.