This episode provides a definition of an ecosystem and explains the current eco system of the Lake Mungo National Park. The video provides information and images on how the components of the Lake Mungo ecosystem work together.

The ecosystem today (3:25)

Episode 17 – The ecosystem today

Warning – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following video may contain images and voices of deceased persons.

(gentle piano music)


An ecosystem includes all the living things, plants, animals, and living organisms in a particular area and their interaction. Not only with each other, but with the non-living environments, such as weather, sun, soil, climate, and atmosphere.

Today, the park is dominated by the ancient dry lake basins. Over thousands of years, wind and water have carved the lunette into spectacular formations, comprised of sand and clay. The environment is arid, meaning it is hot and dry. Only particular animals and plants with special adaptations can survive in this type of habitat.

The types of plants that survive in this environment are grasslands on the wet lake beds, saltbush shrubs on the dry lake beds, mixed shrubs like butter bush, and sandhill wattle on the lunette and acacia open woodland on heavier soils. These plants provide food for the primary consumers in the Mungo ecosystem. so, what animals actually live there?

Ivan Johnston – Discovery Ranger, Mungo National Park

Out here we've got plenty of wildlife. We got snakes, goannas, echidnas, we've got the wedge-tail eagle, crows, magpies. We've also got four-coloured kangaroos out here. We've got the red one, blue one, black and the grey.


The first ground dwelling animals you'll see in Mungo National Park will probably be kangaroos. These herbivores spend their days grazing quietly in the grasslands or resting in a scratch type pad in the woodland shade.

A great variety of narrative vertebrate animals have been recorded at Lake Mungo. 110 species of birds, 22 mammal species and 62 reptile species. 18 of these are classified as endangered.

Back when the lakes were full, the place was brimming with wildlife that nourish the Aboriginal inhabitants. Animals, such as ducks, swans, weeders, pigeons, fish, yabbies, lizards, bandicoots, wallabies, mice, rats, and many, many more. The fish and water birds are long gone and many of the small mammals disappeared more recently, but the native fauna remains a fascinating part of Mungo's outback mystique.

(gentle piano music)

List of sources and acknowledgements

  • Image: Magalania lizard chasing glenyornis. Retrieved from

  • Image: Recreation of mega fauna. Provided by ©Australian Postal Corporation 2008. Designer: Peter Trusler.

  • Video: 45,000 years at Lake Mungo. Provided by National Parks and Wildlife

  • Image: Willandra Lakes 45000years ago. Image retrieved from

  • Image: Recreation of Lake Mungo. Provided by Giovanni Caselli

  • Image: Diprotodon. Provided by Giovanni Caselli. Source of human figures by Giovanni Caselli

  • Video: Building the Lake Mungo lunette. Provided by National Parks and Wildlife.

  • Narration. Voice over by Melissa Ellis, Southern Cross School of Distance Education.


NSW Government Public Schools, Learning Systems, DART connections, Southern Cross School of Education. Virtual Excursions 2017.

[End of transcript]

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