• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Biology
  • Academic career Undergraduate
  • Course convener
    • Dr Marcel Cardillo
    • Prof Lindell Bromham
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course BIOL6206
  • Offered in Second Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

This course deals with macroevolution, macroecology and biogeography - patterns of biodiversity at large spatial and temporal scales, and the processes that have generated these patterns. Surprisingly, there are many fundamental questions about biodiversity that remain poorly answered. For example, why are there so many species in the tropics? Did the extinction of dinosaurs pave the way for the rise of mammals? What causes one species to diverge into two? Equally surprisingly to many people, it is possible to test “big-picture” questions like these using a set of basic logical principles and analytical tools, and an ever-expanding database of molecular, geographic and ecological information on the world's species. The aim of this course is not to present you with facts to memorize, but to equip you with the skills to ask interesting questions about biodiversity, and develop creative and elegant ways to answer them. The course is primarily lecture-based, but two computer workshops give you the chance to learn and apply some of the key analytical tools used in large-scale biodiversity analysis.

Learning Outcomes

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1.    Analyze and interpret biodiversity patterns using specialist computer software and widely-used analytical methods.  

2.    Critically evaluate topics in biodiversity by searching, assessing and synthesizing relevant literature.

3.    Recognize the features of a statistically rigorous and effective test of a question or hypothesis in biodiversity.

4.    Formulate explanations of observed patterns of biodiversity and species distributions in terms of key ecological and evolutionary processes.

Indicative Assessment

1.    Three in-class tests on lecture components of course: 20% each (LO 3,4)

2.    Two computer workshops with accompanying worksheet or report: 10% each (LO 1,3,4)

3.    Essay that reviews and critiques a classic idea or hypothesis in biodiversity: 20% (LO 2)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Three lectures per week and a total of three two-hour tutorial classes per semester.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed BIOL1003 and 18 Units of 2000 or 3000 level courses with a BIOL or BIAN prefix. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed BIOL2154

Assumed Knowledge

BIOL1009 is recommended



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Band 2
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3096
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $4146
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings and Dates

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery
2489 20 Jul 2015 07 Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015 30 Oct 2015 In Person

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions