• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Biology
  • Areas of interest Biology
  • Academic career Postgraduate
  • Course convener
    • Dr Alexander Maier
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course BIOL3210
  • Offered in Spring Session 2019
    See Future Offerings

This course is an appreciative inquiry into the role, history, lifestyle, evolution, ecology and diversity of parasites in the biosphere based on the question “What would the world be like without parasites?” Through adopting a big picture biological inquiry of parasites the course considers:
• parasites in their environment;
• their evolutionary past;
• the complex flow that is the organism/s;
• forms of communicating and interaction that occur at the organismal and population levels; and
• the dynamic complexity and yet specificity of host-parasite interactions.

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

Learning Outcomes

On satisfying the the requirements of this course students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Explain the interaction and diversity of parasite and host populations within the Kioloa environment.
  2. Analyse and relate the evolutionary trajectories of specific/local parasite and host populations to their habitats.
  3. Apply disciplinary and interdisciplinary frameworks in a systems level appraisal of  parasite/host ecology.
  4. Design and apply relevant experimental techniques to a cycle of collaborative research.
  5. Evaluate how interdisciplinary research can deepen complex life sciences research inquiry and personal learning.
  6. Redesign experimental models to accommodate interdisciplinary approaches focused on host-parasite interactions.

Other Information

As an indication, the cost for the 2 week field trip ((18-29 November)) at the Kioloa ANU Coastal Campus, will be around $880 (GST Inclusive).  This student contribution will be used to offset costs of transport, accommodation and food during the course.  In addition to the $880 student contribution to direct field trip costs, the normal ANU course fees for the 6 unit course still apply.  The Research School of Biology will consider financial support for students experiencing hardship, please email rsb.studentadmin@anu.edu.au

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:
  • Experimental parasite host scenario evaluation (LO3, 4, 6) (5%)
  • Field/lab book (LO1, 2, 3, 4, 5) (20%)
  • Four blog postings based on interdisciplinary parasite host perspectives (group based)(LO1, 2, 3) (20%)
  • Group oral presentations based on 'the big things we don't know about parasites' (LO1, 2, 3) (10%)
  • Web based science reports on student host-parasite research (LO1, 2, 3) (10%)
  • Final Host-Parasite Research Report (LO1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) (35%) (3000 words)

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.


3hr based on lectures/workshops x 10 and 3hr practicals (lab/field) x 10, 1.5hr interdisciplinary working groups x 10

Requisite and Incompatibility

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

Prescribed Texts

Key readings will be provided in the course site within Wattle


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.

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

Spring Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery
8565 18 Nov 2019 TBA TBA 29 Nov 2019 In Person

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