- Code BIOL3206
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
- ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
- Course subject Biology
- Areas of interest Genetics, Evolution and Ecology, Biology, Biodiversity Conservation
This course includes an on campus activity/ies. Check timetable for details. Contact course convener if you are unable to travel to Canberra.
This course deals with 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 a matter of debate. 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. This is a challenging and rewarding course that requires students to think creatively, take charge of framing, investigating and answering questions, consider different viewpoints and come to their own opinions. The course is taught through workshops which give students a chance to explore and discuss ideas, so attendance of all face-to-face classes is an essential component of this course. The course emphasizes individual study and critical thinking.
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:
- Formulate explanations of observed patterns of biodiversity and species distributions in terms of key ecological and evolutionary processes;
- Critically evaluate topics in biodiversity by searching, assessing and synthesizing relevant literature;
- Recognize the features of a statistically rigorous and effective test of a question or hypothesis in biodiversity;
- Analyze and interpret biodiversity patterns using specialist computer software and widely-used analytical methods.
Indicative AssessmentAssessment will be based on:
- Online quizzes on topics covered in classes and required reading: 15% (LO 1)
- Computer-based workshops with accompanying written report: 15% (LO 3,4)
- End-of-semester exam 35% (LO1,2,3)
- Explainer of a key idea in macroevolution and macroecology 35% (LO 2). Students are free to choose the format (e.g. written, electronic media, presentation, graphical) but all explainers will be judged by the same criteria, focussing on how well they explain the idea. Students will present their explainer to the class, receive feedback from peers and teachers, then have the chance to modify their explainer before submission. Submission must be in a printed or electronic format (e.g. recording if for a presentation). Explainers are expected to be produced by groups of 4-6 students, but under special circumstances smaller groups orindividuals will be acceptable. All members of the group receive the same mark. Students sign up to groups and topics at the end of Week 2.
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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WorkloadStudents are expected to attend three face-to-face discussion-based workshops per week. In addition,students are expected to undertake self-directed study in their own time, which may involve working with other students. The overall expectation is a minimum of 36 hours teaching contact during the semester, plus a minimum of 50 hours of self-directed study (which may include group work).
Requisite and Incompatibility
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
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- 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.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
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Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.