• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Biology

This course deals with the processes determining the abundance of organisms and how population abundance changes through time. The course begins by identifying the demographic characteristics of a population and the techniques used for quantifying these characteristics. The impact of abiotic factors on the nature of population change will be examined. The role of the biotic processes of intra- and inter-specific competition, predation, disease and herbivory on the dynamic behaviour of populations will be discussed. An important component of the course is introducing the quantitative methods and approaches used in population ecology to determine the status of populations and predict population behaviour. To this end, the course consists of weekly tutorials where, as well as being introduced to the use of several software packages, students obtain experience with some of the quantitative techniques introduced in the course. 

Honours pathway option (HPO)

Entry to this option will be subject to the approval of the course convener, and requires a mark of at least 80 in BIOL1003. Students undertaking this option replace the essay with a literature-based assignment examining the implication of population dynamic theory on the management of pest populations or the commercial harvesting of a species. Students will be guided through this exercise and will meet with the lecturer on a regular basis throughout the latter half of the course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

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

1. Describe the dynamics of species populations using the specialised language of population ecology
2. Explain the role that biotic and abiotic process may play in determining population dynamics and stability
3. Apply a range of quantitative methods relevant to population ecology
4. Analyse and evaluate the significance of papers in the primary ecological literature
5. Use the spreadsheet package EXCEL to investigate the behaviour of simple population models.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:

  • Essay on the role of intra-specific competition on the demographic characteristics of species (30 %; LO 1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Practical exam to assess ability to use EXCEL to solve and interpret simple population models  (20 %; LO 5)
  • Theory exam (50%; LO 1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Optional mid-term practice exam designed to familiarise the student with the format of the theory exam (20%). This mark may be used to replace the practical exam mark.

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Two lectures per week, a one hour tutorial and 1.5 hour practical per week.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed BIOL1003. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have completed BIOL6004.

Assumed Knowledge

STAT1003 is strongly 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:
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
2016 $3276
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $4368
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4517 20 Feb 2017 27 Feb 2017 31 Mar 2017 26 May 2017 In Person N/A

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