• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Biology
  • Areas of interest Genetics, Evolution and Ecology, Biology, Biodiversity Conservation
  • Academic career Postgraduate
  • Course convener
    • Prof Lindell Bromham
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course BIOL3206
  • Offered in Second Semester 2019
    See Future Offerings

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.
This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Formulate explanations of observed patterns of biodiversity and species distributions in terms of key ecological and evolutionary processes;
  2. Critically evaluate topics in biodiversity by searching, assessing and synthesizing relevant literature;
  3. Recognize the features of a statistically rigorous and effective test of a question or hypothesis in biodiversity;
  4. Analyze and interpret biodiversity patterns using specialist computer software and widely-used analytical methods;
  5. Critically assess the contribution of a scientific paper to our understanding of evolution or ecology.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:
  • Regular online quizzes on topics covered in classes and required reading: 12% (LO 1)
  • Explainer (written, electronic media or presentation) of a key idea in macroevolution and macroecology 28% (LO 2)
  • Computer-based workshops with accompanying written report: 12% (LO 3,4)
  • End of semester exam 28% (LO 1,2,3)
  • Critical review of a key idea or hypothesis in biodiversity: 20% (LO 5)

The ANU uses 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. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Workload

Students 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). BIOL6206 students have the same workload plus an expectation of an additional 30 hours of self-directed study for their critical review assessment items.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You will need to contact the Biology Teaching and Learning Centre to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Assumed Knowledge

Bachelor degree with knowledge of biology, biodiversity or ecology and evolution

Fees

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:
Band 2
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.

Units EFTSL
6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings and Dates

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery
7934 22 Jul 2019 29 Jul 2019 31 Aug 2019 25 Oct 2019 In Person

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