• Class Number 8645
  • Term Code 2960
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Philip Gibbons
    • Catherine Ross
    • Matthew Chard
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/07/2019
  • Class End Date 25/10/2019
  • Census Date 31/08/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 29/07/2019
SELT Survey Results

This course explores concepts in biodiversity science that form essential knowledge for ecologically sustainable resource management. You will study the key factors that influence how biota are distributed and ecosystems function, and learn about the consequences for sustainability when balanced systems are disrupted by natural events or human activities. Your practical biodiversity survey skills will be developed through experience across a range of ecosystems (including marine, coastal and inland systems, in both modified and natural landscapes).

This course includes weekly lectures and practical sessions that involve workshops, laboratory classes, and field trips to reserves, farms and the Fenner School's existing long-term research sites in the Canberra region. There is an optional 5-day field trip to the ANU Kioloa coastal campus (approximately $400 for transport, accommodation and meals) where you will learn to survey and identify both flora and fauna.

This course develops fundamental skills that are necessary for graduates seeking careers in natural resource management and other areas of environmental science. It also provides important background for those wishing to pursue careers in any field that potentially impacts on biodiversity, e.g. environmental policy and planning.

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. Identify key factors that influence the distribution of biota.
  2. Identify and apply appropriate techniques for measuring biodiversity in a range of different environments and circumstances.
  3. Develop and test hypotheses about the impacts of human activities on biodiversity.
  4. Effectively interpret and critique biodiversity data using standard analytical and communication techniques, and communicate key information about ecosystems to a range of audiences.

Research-Led Teaching

There is an emphasis on practical and inquiry-based learning and we undertake field trips most weeks. We involve many researchers and professional staff in the course.

Field Trips

There is an optional field trip to Kioloa Coastal campus (bird surveys, camera trapping, invertebrate surveys, habitat assessment, intertidal surveys) in the second week of the mid-semester break (Monday to Friday). If you are enrolled in ENVS2018 Environmental Science Field School you will already be attending this field trip.

Additional Course Costs

The optional field trip to Kioloa is approximately $400.

Examination Material or equipment

The examination is conducted online via Wattle so you need access to a computer and reliable internet connection

Required Resources

Sturdy shoes, hat, rainjacket, clipboard, water bottle

Laptop computer, binoculars, camera

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • we provide feedback for every question in workshop assignments along with generic feedback to the class, including the mean mark
  • for written assignments we provide edits and comments on your report, feedback against each of the marking criteria and generic feedback to the class including the mean mark
  • students will have an opportunity to discuss their draft research assignments with the lecturers or demonstrators in Week 7
  • lectures and demonstrators are available by appointment throughout the semester.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 This is indicative only and may change. A detailed course outline will be available in Wattle. A detailed schedule of due dates for assessment items will be available in Wattle.
2 Week 1 Introduction & defining biodiversity
3 Week 2 Measures of biodiversity & description of poster exercise Workshop assignment 1
4 Week 3 Conservation genetics Workshop assignment 2
5 Week 4 Biodiversity surrogates in conservation Workshop assignment 3
6 Week 5 Research reports and analysing field data
7 Week 6 Biodiversity databases and citizen science platforms Poster & presentation
8 Second week of mid-semester break Optional field trip to Kioloa Coastal Campus (bird surveys, camera trapping, invertebrate surveys, habitat assessment, intertidal surveys)
9 Week 7 Populations, metapopulations and extinction Workshop assignment 4
10 Week 8 Communities & some skills identifying eucalypts Workshop assignment 5 & Research report
11 Week 9 Species distribution modelling Workshop assignment 6
12 Week 10 Landscape ecology Workshop assignment 7
13 Week 11 Ecosystem services Workshop assignment 8
14 Week 12 Biodiversity conservation policy and review of course material

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Workshop assignments 30 % 05/08/2019 31/10/2019 1,2,3,4
Poster or video 15 % 26/08/2019 16/09/2019 1,3,4
Research report 25 % 23/09/2019 14/10/2019 1,2,3,4
Exam 30 % 31/10/2019 28/11/2019 1,2,3

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


There is no mark for participation, but you must attend a workshop in person in order to submit the associated workshop assignment.


See Assessment Task 4

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 05/08/2019
Return of Assessment: 31/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Workshop assignments

There are a total of 8 workshop assignments that are due the week after each workshop and you are marked on your best 6 of the 8 assignments. You must attend the workshop to submit the associated assignment. A detailed description of each workshop will be provided in the Wattle site. All workshop assignments must be completed online in Wattle. The date range for these tasks indicates the approximate due date for the first assignment and the approximate return date for the last assignment. There are 8 assignments due over the semester. Thee marked workshop assignments will be returned within 1 week after submission. Further details can be found on the Wattle site.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 26/08/2019
Return of Assessment: 16/09/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4

Poster or video

You will produce a poster or video and short (2 min) presentation on the impacts of one or more pressures on a species or ecological community of your choice. See Wattle site for details.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 23/09/2019
Return of Assessment: 14/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Research report

You will develop a research question and answer it using one of the data sets collected during the Kioloa field trip. Examples of projects students have completed in the past include: whether marine protected areas result in greater invertebrate richness, the impact of land use change on invertebrates and the effect of habitat complexity on bird species richness. This report is written in the style of a journal article. More information is provided on the Wattle site and there will be an information session about the report in Week 7.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 31/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3


There is an exam at the end of semester during the examination period that is undertaken online via Wattle, so you don't have to be on campus. The exam is based on material in preparatory exercises (i.e., reading material), lectures and practicals. It is open book. There will be a revision session in Week 12 and a practice exam to help you prepare. More information will be available in Wattle. This task will occur during the examination period at a time determined by ANU Timetabling. The due date therefore reflects the first day of the examination period in which ANU Timetabling will allocate the exam time and the return date reflects the date that Semester 2 results are released.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

All assignments are marked in Wattle. An email notification will be sent when your assignment is marked.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

In exceptional circumstances the convenor will allow an assignment to be resubmitted, but this must be negotiated in person with the convenor.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

AsPr Philip Gibbons

Research Interests

Environment Policy, Forestry Fire Management, Environmental Impact Assessment, Conservation And Biodiversity

AsPr Philip Gibbons

Thursday 14:00 16:00
Catherine Ross
+61 2 6125 4882

Research Interests

Catherine Ross

Matthew Chard

Research Interests

Matthew Chard

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