• Class Number 8688
  • Term Code 3060
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Peter Solomon
    • Prof David Jones
    • Dr Carolyn Behm
    • Prof Celeste Linde
    • Prof David Jones
    • John Rathjen
    • Peter Kerr
    • Prof Peter Solomon
    • Prof Ulrike Mathesius
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 27/07/2020
  • Class End Date 30/10/2020
  • Census Date 31/08/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 03/08/2020
SELT Survey Results

In the face of global climate change, a growing human population and the threat of global pandemics and bioterrorism, pests and diseases are an increasingly important threat to human, animal and plant biosecurity and ultimately global food security. This course examines the biology of major threat organisms including feral animals, weeds, parasites and pathogenic micro-organisms, with a focus on endemic and exotic threats to Australian health and agriculture. The social, economic and environmental impact of pests and diseases and the regulatory, biological and biotechnological measures used to control pests and diseases will also be examined.  

Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but are assessed separately

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. research biosecurity information and online biosecurity resources;
  2. discuss and present biosecurity information verbally, visually and in writing;
  3. understand the biological attributes that make feral animals, weeds, parasites and pathogenic micro-organisms a biosecurity threat;
  4. understand the principles underlying regulatory frameworks used to manage biosecurity and ability to navigate and use these frameworks;
  5. critically analyse the science underpinning our understanding of the emergence of new biosecurity threats.

Research-Led Teaching

Each of the lecturers in this course is an active researcher with expertise in areas of research closely related to their lecture modules. Their lectures will draw on that expertise and include examples of their own research to illustrate advances in our understanding and questions that still need to be answered about the biology of organisms of biosecurity concern.

Required Resources

There are no prescribed texts for this course.

A list of online biosecurity resources will be provided.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given written feedback on essay outlines, essays and case studies.

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 Introductory lectures and lecture in Module 1
2 Lectures in Module 1 and guest seminar
3 Lectures in Module 2 and guest seminar
4 Tutorial on preparation of case studies, lectures in Module 3 and guest seminar
5 Lectures in Module 4 and case studies Case study assessment
6 Case studies Case study assessment
7 No lectures and no case studies (unless class numbers warrant scheduling of case studies in Week 7) Essays due. Mid-semester exam
8 Case studies Case study assessment
9 Lectures in Module 5 and guest seminar
10 Lectures in Modules 5 and 6, and guest seminar
11 Lectures in Module 6 and 7, and guest seminar
12 Lectures in Module 7 and wrap-up lecture

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Essay outline 2 % 26/08/2020 30/08/2020 1, 2, 3, 5
Essay 18 % 16/09/2020 30/10/2020 1, 2, 3, 5
Case study 20 % 22/08/2020 30/10/2020 1, 2, 3,4
Mid-semester exam 25 % 31/08/2020 25/09/2020 3,4
End-of-semester exam 25 % 05/11/2020 03/12/2020 3,4

* 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 Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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.


Participation in 80% of case studies is a course requirement. Submission of an essay and presentation of a case study are also course requirements.


There will be a mid-semester examination and an end-of semester examination each worth 25% of the course mark i.e. a total of 50%. Students must achieve an overall examination mark of at least 40% to pass the course i.e. exam marks must contribute at least 20% of the total course mark.

Please note, that where a date range is used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams, the due date and return date indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held and results returned to the student (official end of Semester results released on ISIS). Students should consult the course wattle site and the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date and time of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 2 %
Due Date: 26/08/2020
Return of Assessment: 30/08/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 5

Essay outline

Prepare an outline of your essay that includes the structure/sub-headings that you intend to use, lists the three papers that you intend to review and provides a brief summary (no more than ten sentences) of their relevance to the topic chosen and their thematic relationship. The outline should be no more than one page in total.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 18 %
Due Date: 16/09/2020
Return of Assessment: 30/10/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 5


Write an essay of 2000 words ±200 words reviewing three papers reporting recent advances made in an area of research related to:

The role of horizontal gene transfer in the emergence of new fungal diseases of plants


The role of recombination in intermediate hosts in the emergence of new viral diseases


To prepare your essay you will need to complete the following tasks:

1) Undertake a bibliographic database search to identify three recent (2016 or later) papers related to the topic and possessing a thematic connection to one another.

2) Read and make sure you understand your chosen research papers. This may require reading of background papers that put the chosen research papers into context.

3) Decide what you see as the main research question being addressed by each paper and the main advance or advances in understanding achieved.

4) Taking account of the guidelines given on Wattle, write an essay that presents the important contributions of the selected papers to the topic.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 22/08/2020
Return of Assessment: 30/10/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3,4

Case study

Choose a case study topic (other than COVID-19) that does not address the same kind of threat organism as the essay. Prepare and present a twelve-minute Powerpoint presentation with no more than ten content slides (excluding title and end slides) describing a past or present pest or disease incursion, its biology and impact, how it was or is being handled, the actual or likely outcome of the incursion and lessons learnt. Three minutes will then be allowed for questions. Your ability to fit your presentation to these constraints will form part of the assessment. A list of references or sources of information used to prepare the presentation should be provided on a separate slide following the last slide of your presentation. Sources of images used should be included in the slides showing the images. For assessment purposes, your Powerpoint presentation should be uploaded via Wattle immediately before or after you have presented your case study.

Students will present on dates of their choice within a range of dates available just before and just after the mid-semester break. The due date indicates the approximate date the first presentations are due, the return date indicates the end of the teaching period.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 31/08/2020
Return of Assessment: 25/09/2020
Learning Outcomes: 3,4

Mid-semester exam

There will be a mid-semester online open-book exam covering all material presented in lectures (including the introductory lectures) before the mid-semester break. The exams will be divided into five questions corresponding to the introductory lectures and each of the four lecture modules. Questions will be weighted according to the number of lectures in each module.

The due date in the Assessment Summary indicates the start of the mid semester exam period in Week 7. Please check the course Wattle site and the ANU Examination Timetable to confirm the date and time of the mid semester exam.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 05/11/2020
Return of Assessment: 03/12/2020
Learning Outcomes: 3,4

End-of-semester exam

There will be an end-of-semester online open-book exam covering all material presented in lectures and two of the guest seminars after the mid-semester break.. The exam will be divided into five sections corresponding to the three lecture modules and two guest seminars. Questions will be weighted according to the number of lectures in each module.

The due date in the Assessment Summary indicates the start of the end of semester exam period and the return date indicates the date official end of semester results are released on ISIS. Please check the ANU Final Examination Timetable http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/examination-timetable to confirm the date and time of the end-of-semester exam exam.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

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) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

Hard copy submission of assessments will not be accepted unless approved by the Associate Dean (Education). If approved, hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet.

Late Submission

Late submission of the essay outline is not permitted. A mark of 0 will be awarded if the essay outline is not submitted by the due date.

Late submission of the essay is permitted. Late submissions 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 submissions of assessment tasks are not accepted beyond 10 working days after the due date.

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

Feedback on essay outlines, essays and case studies will be sent by email.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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

Draft versions of assignments may be submitted multiple times for originality checking via Turnitin prior to submission of your final version. The date the final version is submitted will be deemed the date of submission for the assignment.

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).

Prof Peter Solomon

Research Interests

Prof Peter Solomon

By Appointment
By Appointment
Prof David Jones

Research Interests

Molecular mechanisms underpinning fungal pathogenicity and plant disease resistance.

Prof David Jones

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Carolyn Behm

Research Interests

Dr Carolyn Behm

By Appointment
Prof Celeste Linde

Research Interests

Prof Celeste Linde

By Appointment
Prof David Jones

Research Interests

Prof David Jones

By Appointment
By Appointment
John Rathjen

Research Interests

John Rathjen

By Appointment
Peter Kerr

Research Interests

Peter Kerr

By Appointment
Prof Peter Solomon

Research Interests

Prof Peter Solomon

By Appointment
By Appointment
Prof Ulrike Mathesius

Research Interests

Prof Ulrike Mathesius

By Appointment

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