• Class Number 2955
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Andras Keszei
    • Dr Andras Keszei
    • Dr Juliey Beckman
    • Dr Lucy Aplin
    • Prof Michael Jennions
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 21/02/2022
  • Class End Date 27/05/2022
  • Census Date 31/03/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
SELT Survey Results

This course aims to introduce some of the major concepts in the study of life, focussing on evolutionary and ecological questions. It assumes no previous qualifications in biology and, while this course is an important prerequisite for those majoring in biology, it is also designed for students not intending further study in biology. The program consists of the following modules:

(a) Evolution - diversity and classification of life; evidence for evolution; natural selection and adaptation; speciation; evolutionary trees.

(b) Molecular Genetics - organisation and replication of genetic material; the mechanism and control of transcription and translation.

(c) Genetics of Inheritance - Chromosomes and cell division; patterns of inheritance and sex determination; population genetics; human genetics.

(d) Ecology - regulation and exploitation of populations; ecosystem energy and nutrient flow; species interactions; biodiversity; human impacts.

(e) Behavioural Ecology - evolutionary approach to studying animal behaviour; social behaviour; cooperation and altruism; sexual selection; mating systems; communication.

(f) Quantitative Biology - DNA and Protein sequence manipulation, similarity analysis, alignment, nucleotide and protein sequence database search.

Specific topics may differ from year to year. There will be laboratory and field practicals as well as tutorials to allow students to gain the basic skills needed to engage with the main topics.

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

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Acquire knowledge and understanding of the processes of evolution, including natural selection, adaptation and speciation, genetics, including DNA structure and function, cell replication, heritability and population genetics; ecology, including biomes, species diversity, extinction, population ecology and life-history; behavioural ecology, and how it uses an evolutionary, genetic and ecological framework to study animal behaviour.
  2. Reference scientific papers, present scientific data and develop directional hypotheses.
  3. Perform basic biological manipulation and sample handling techniques.
  4. Apply knowledge of experimental limitations to interpret unreliable data and communicate the results.
  5. Make and interpret structured observations to draw conclusions about complex interactions.
  6. Broadly understand how biological knowledge is developed, and apply this framework to critically engage with new biological scenarios.
  7. Manipulate and analyse biological sequences in silico using public sequence databases and analysis tools.

Examination Material or equipment

For examinations, you will need to have a personal computer with a webcam and microphone, running a web browser with the proctorio extension installed.

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

The recommended textbook for the course is Campbell Biology 11th or 12th Australian Edition (ISBN:9781488613715 and ISBN:9781488626241).


Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Other Information

In 2022, this course has been adjusted for remote participants: There will be live zoom delivery (plus recording) of at least one of the practicals per week, and zoom tutorials will be offered for the remote students.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lectures
2 Lectures and Tutorial
3 Lectures Quiz 1, Assignment 1 due
4 Lectures and Tutorial Quiz 2
5 Lectures and Lab Quiz 3
6 Lectures and Tutorial Assignment 2 due
7 Lectures and Lab
8 Lectures and Lab Quiz 4
9 Lectures and Tutorial Assignment 3 due
10 Lectures and Field Practical Quiz 5
11 Lectures and Tutorial
12 Lectures Quiz 6, Assignment 4 due

Tutorial Registration

Tutorials and Practicals have a single sign-up in Wattle. The group designations correspond to those in the ANU timetable.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Mid-Semester Exam 18 % 08/04/2022 29/04/2022 1,5,6
End of Semester Exam 27 % * * 1,4,5,6
Assignments 29 % * * 1,2,3,4,5
Quizzes 16 % * * 1,4,5,6
Literature Review and Critical Thinking Assignment 10 % * 27/05/2022 1,2,3,4,5

* 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 Integrity 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 Skills website. 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.


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

Assessment Task 1

Value: 18 %
Due Date: 08/04/2022
Return of Assessment: 29/04/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,5,6

Mid-Semester Exam

The Mid-Semester Exam will examine the content of the first two modules: Classical Genetics and Evolution. It is an open-book online exam remotely invigilated via proctorio.

The date of the Mid-Semester Exam is Friday, the 8th of April, in the Mid-Semester Break.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 27 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,4,5,6

End of Semester Exam

The End of Semester Exam will examine the content of the last three modules: Molecular Genetics, Ecology and the capstone unit Behavioural Ecology. It is an open-book online exam remotely invigilated via proctorio.

The date range in the Assessment Summary indicates the start of the end of semester exam period and 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, time and location exam.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 29 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5


Assignments:  The course has 4 assignments weighted at 7.2% each. Assignments are due on the day of the tutorial/lab you signed up to in the following weeks:

  • Assignment 1 is on information literacy and referencing, and is due in week 3 (March 7-11).
  • Assignment 2 is based on the evolution lab, and is due in week 6 (March 28-April 1).
  • Assignment 3 is based on the molecular genetics labs, and is due in week 10 (May 9-13).
  • Assignment 4 is based on the field practical, and is due in week 12 (May 23-27).

Assessment Task 4

Value: 16 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,4,5,6


Quizzes: The course has 6 online quizzes (one for each module, plus one for labs) weighted at 2.7% each:

  • Quiz 1 covers Classical Genetics, closing date March 11,
  • Quiz 2 covers lab safety and calculations, closing date March 18,
  • Quiz 3 covers Evolution, closing date March 25,
  • Quiz 4 covers Molecular Genetics, closing date April 29,
  • Quiz 5 covers Ecology, closing date May 13
  • Quiz 6 covers Behavioural Ecology, closing date May 27.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 10 %
Return of Assessment: 27/05/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Literature Review and Critical Thinking Assignment

Masters students will have a chance to work and journal club a topic through the semester, for which a written assignment worth 10% of the final grade needs to be submitted by the 27th of May.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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

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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be marked in Turnitin, and students will be able to access their numerical and written feedback by downloading it in pdf format.

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

No resubmission of assignments is permitted.

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).

Dr Andras Keszei
02 612 53539

Research Interests

molecular genetics, transcriptomics, chemical ecology, plant secondary metabolism, natural product chemistry,

Dr Andras Keszei

By Appointment
Dr Andras Keszei
02 6125 9090

Research Interests

Dr Andras Keszei

By Appointment
Dr Juliey Beckman
02 6125 9090

Research Interests

Dr Juliey Beckman

Dr Lucy Aplin
02 6125 9090

Research Interests

Dr Lucy Aplin

Prof Michael Jennions
02 6125 9090

Research Interests

Prof Michael Jennions

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