• Class Number 6738
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Scott Keogh
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

Australia is famous the world over for its unique and biodiverse animals: from charismatic mammals to extravagant octopuses, to fascinating spiders. If you are interested in the ecology, evolution, conservation or management of animals then it is important to understand their biodiversity and natural history. In this course we will put Australian animals in an evolutionary context and explore recent research advances through interactive lectures, lab practicals, workshops and a field trip. In the first half of the course we cover the enormous diversity of terrestrial, marine and aquatic invertebrate animals, from insects and spiders to molluscs, rotifers and corals. In the second half we cover the enigmatic Australian fish, frogs, reptiles, birds and mammals, with a particular focus on their diversity and natural history. The course includes contributions from researchers at the CSIRO Australian National Insect Collection and the Australian National Wildlife Collection, both located in Canberra. On a 3-day field trip to the coast you will gain a solid grounding in identifying the most common marine and terrestrial invertebrate fauna of south-eastern Australia and the habitats that they occupy. Lab practicals throughout the course focus on hands-on learning about key features of structures and how they function, specimen preservation and the use of biological keys for species identification. We have designed this course to complement other third year courses in ecology, evolution, biodiversity and conservation. It is fun, interesting and interactive. It will give you the practical skills and information you need to continue on with animal biology in the future, including advice on future jobs that require these skills.

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. 

Research-Led Teaching

This course is strongly linked to the research going on in the Research School of Biology (RSB) and the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC) at CSIRO. All of the lecturers in this course are world-class researchers in invertebrate and vertebrate biology. The lecture material and practicals are designed to provide an excellent grounding in zoology with a particular emphasis on the major research strengths of RSB and ANIC.  

This course requires students to independently collect insect specimens, mount or otherwise prepare them to museum standards, and describe and identify them in accordance with the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. This independent research is assessed against the standards expected for professional museum curators, taxonomists and systematists.

Field Trips

There will be one or two day trips to help students collect additional insects for their collections.

Please see the College of Science Field Trip page for more information.

Examination Material or equipment

Examination details will be supplied to students on the course Wattle site.

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

Staff Feedback

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

  • Comments and discussion on their work as they are doing it in prac sessions
  • Written feedback on submitted work
  • General feedback to class.

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

Referencing requirements

Referencing varies among assessment tasks. For example, the invertebrate collection exercise must conform to the style prescribed by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, while other tasks will require standard research paper formats. Referencing will be discussed in class in the context of each assessment task.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 History of Australian Vertebrates
2 Australian FrogsPractical 1 – Skills to prepare a museum specimen (bird)
3 Australian ReptilesPractical 2 – Australian Reptile Diversity
4 Australian BirdsPractical 3 – Australian Bird Diversity
5 Australian MammalsPractical 4 – Australian Mammal Diversity Species account and flash talk video due at the end of this week
6 Jobs and further research in Zoology
Test 1 over first half of the course will be given during the practical time slot
7 Insects: Overview and OriginsPractical 5 - Insects: Pinning and Identification
8 Australian Flies (Diptera)Practical 6 - Flies: Morphology, Diversity, Identification
9 Australian Beetles (Coleoptera)Practical 7 - Beetles: Morphology, Diversity, Identification
10 Australian Moths and Butterflies (Lepidoptera)Practical 8 - Moths and Butterflies: Morphology, Diversity, Identification
11 Australian Ants, Bees and Wasps (Hymenoptera)Practical 9 – Ants, Bees & Wasps: Morphology, Diversity, Identification
12 All the rest: Miscellaneous Australian invertebratesPractical 10 – Finish off collections and submit Insect collection due at the end of this week.

Tutorial Registration

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.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Written vertebrate species account and presentation 20 % 25/08/2023 1,2,3,4,5
Test over first half of the course, including both lecture and practical content 30 % 30/08/2023 1,2,3,4
Insect specimen collection and preparation 20 % 27/10/2023 1,2,3,5
Test over second half of the course, including both lecture and practical content 30 % * 1,2,4,5

* 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.


All students will be required to participate in the practicals and participation in the day trips and other activities is very strongly encouraged.


2 x tests: A mid-term test over the vertebrate component of the course (both lecture and practical content) and a second test during the exam period over the invertebrate component of the course (both lecture and practical content).

Students should consult the course wattle site and the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the final exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 25/08/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Written vertebrate species account and presentation

Each student will either choose or be assigned a local vertebrate species and they will be tasked with writing a detailed species account. As part of this you will learn how to use the Atlas of Living Australia and the Canberra Nature Map. Students will record a very short flash talk on the highlights of their species account and this will be shared with the rest of the class. 

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 30/08/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Test over first half of the course, including both lecture and practical content

Please check the course Wattle site to confirm the date, time and location of the mid semester assessment.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 27/10/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5

Insect specimen collection and preparation

Each student will do an insect collection of local species. This project has four objectives: To examine the morphology of selected invertebrates and to be able to describe their structure. To document the variety of Australian terrestrial and marine invertebrates. To become proficient in invertebrate collection techniques and the preparation, presentation and preservation of specimens. To learn about and apply the rules of invertebrate classification and identification.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5

Test over second half of the course, including both lecture and practical content

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.

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 not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.

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 returned as hardcopy with feedback.

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

Resubmission of assignments is not an available option.

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 Scott Keogh

Research Interests

Evolution and diversity of Australian animals

Prof Scott Keogh

By Appointment

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