• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Biology
  • Areas of interest Zoology, Evolution and Ecology, Environmental Science, Biodiversity Conservation
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof David Rowell
    • Prof John Keogh
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

Updated 2020 Field trip cost: $250

Australia is famous the world over for its unique and biodiverse animal population. If you are interested in the ecology, evolution, conservation or management of animals then it is important to understand the biodiversity and natural history of animals. This course will put Australian animals in an evolutionary context and consider recent research advances through interactive lectures, lab practicals, workshops and a field trip. The first half of the course will cover the enormous diversity of invertebrate animals, with a particular focus on insects and marine invertebrates. The second half will cover Australian vertebrate animals, with a particular focus on diversity and natural history. The course includes contributions from the CSIRO Australian National Insect Collection and the Australian National Wildlife Collection, both located in Canberra. A 3-day field trip will give students a solid grounding in the marine and terrestrial invertebrate fauna of south-eastern Australia and the habitats they occupy. Lab practicals throughout the course will focus on biodiversity through hands-on learning about key features of structure and function, specimen preservation and the use of biological keys in species identification. This course is designed to complement other third year courses in ecology, evolution, biodiversity and conservation. It is also fun, interesting, interactive and will set you up with practical skills and information for continuing with animal biology in the future, including advice on future jobs.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Describe and evaluate the major patterns of biodiversity and evolutionary innovations of invertebrate and vertebrate animals, with a particular focus on Australian species.
  2. Understand and apply the principles of phylogenetic systematics and taxonomy to invertebrate and vertebrate groups.
  3. Analyse invertebrates in the field and understand the requirements for collection and short-term maintenance of invertebrate species for photographic and scientific observation.
  4. Analyse vertebrates in the laboratory and evaluate morphological diversity in the context of the natural history of Australian vertebrates.
  5. Analyse invertebrates and vertebrates in the laboratory and use taxonomic keys for identification.

Other Information

There will be a 3 day fieldtrip in Kioloa during March. Indicative costs are approximately $200. For more details of the cost/trip dates, please check the Class Summary.

Field trip costs are in addition to the tuition fees and can paid through Scienceshop .

Indicative Assessment

  1. Mid term and final exams on lecture & practical component (60) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  2. Invertebrate specimen collection and preparation (25) [LO 1,2,3,5]
  3. Written vertebrate species account and presentation (15) [LO 1,2,4,5]

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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The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • Face-to face component which will consist of 24 x 1 hour lectures, workshops and discussion groups (24 hours) and up to 10 x 3 hour practicals (30 hours) plus workshops and discussion groups (30 hours). 
  • Approximately 30 hours of self-study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.
  • A weekend field trip to Kioloa in March

Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards practicals, workshops and discussions.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in the course you must have successfully completed (BIOL1009 or ENVS1003) and (BIOL2114 or BIOL2131). You are not able to enrol in this course if you have completed BIOL2111, BIOL2113, BIOL3113, BIOL3114, BIOL6111 or BIOL6113.

Prescribed Texts


Assumed Knowledge

An understanding of the basic principles of evolution, taxonomic classification and phylogenetic reconstruction


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
2020 $4050
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

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
4674 24 Feb 2020 02 Mar 2020 08 May 2020 05 Jun 2020 In Person View

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