Course Outline

ANM100 Animal Ecology Field Course

Course Coordinator:Bonnie Holmes ( School:School of Science, Technology and Engineering

2024Semester 1

UniSC Sunshine Coast

UniSC Moreton Bay

UniSC Fraser Coast

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


Animal ecologists are passionate, field-orientated scientists, who work in a broad variety of industries across a diverse range of animal groups and ecosystems. This practical and exciting field course will introduce you to the discipline of animal ecology and engage you directly in studying animals in some of the unique coastal ecosystems of Australia. You will spend several days in the field where you will be exposed to hot topics in contemporary animal ecology research, using multiple techniques to survey animals in marine, freshwater, and terrestrial habitats.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – Pre-recorded weekly material 1hr Week 2 8 times
Seminar – On campus seminars (Weeks 1,8,12) 1hr Week 1 3 times
Fieldwork – Field course is booked to commence on Saturday 16 March and finish on Wednesday 20 March 2024. Each student cohort (3) will attend one of the two night rotations only, but will need to be available to possibly attend any of them. 24hrs Week 4 Once Only
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – On campus tutorial (Weeks 2,5, 9,10,11,13) Note: Week 9 tutorial 1& 2 scheduled back to back 1hr Week 2 6 times
Tutorial/Workshop 2 – On campus specialised tutorial (Weeks 3,6,7,9) Note: Week 9 tutorial 1& 2 scheduled back to back 2hrs Week 3 4 times

Course Topics

In this course you will:
1. Discover the evolutionary and functional foundations of animal ecology;
2. Apply modern techniques for studying animals in the wild in a hands-on fashion;
4. Learn how to apply field skills to answer fundamental questions about biodiversity and conservation;
5. Value the importance of high ethical standards that underpin all work done by animal ecologists; and
6. Engage in field-based research activities that involve you in the discipline of animal ecology in a tangible and practical way.

What level is this course?

100 Level (Introductory)

Engaging with discipline knowledge and skills at foundational level, broad application of knowledge and skills in familiar contexts and with support. Limited or no prerequisites. Normally, associated with the first full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Demonstrate and apply knowledge about; a) the fundamentals of animal ecology as a scientific discipline; b) the questions it asks; c) the evolutionary processes that shape it; and d) the techniques used to study it. Knowledgeable
2 Communicate effectively and professionally. Empowered
3 Systematise and analyse; a) core concepts in animal ecology science; b) the adaptations of animals to their environment, c) biological and ecological levels of organisation, and d) processes that shape the structure of animal communities. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Must be enrolled in SB303, SC320, SC012, SC107 or UC103


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

A formative fieldwork notebook is completed, and reviewed, during the field course. A formative practice exam will be conducted in class. Feedback will also be given via a summative fieldwork quiz. 

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Quiz/zes Individual 20%
30 minutes
Week 6 Online Test (Quiz)
All 2 Oral Group 30%
10 minutes (+/- 10%).
Week 9 In Class
All 3 Examination - Centrally Scheduled Individual 50%
1 hour
Exam Period Online Test (Quiz)
All - Assessment Task 1:Fieldwork Quiz
Demonstrate your understanding of key research skills and methods that are used to study animals in their environment and the ability to collect and accurately record ecological data.
Product: Quiz/zes
An online multiple choice exam based on the research questions, ecological studies and survey methods covered on the field course.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrate your knowledge of field ecology, including research questions and hypotheses, experimental design, and survey techniques and methodologies.
All - Assessment Task 2:Seminar
Demonstrate your ability to communicate professionally and accurately the important facts and concepts associated with research activities and techniques in animal ecology.
Product: Oral
Oral presentation introducing a chosen research question, describing the research techniques used to answer this question, and summarising the results of data collected on this topic during the Field Course. This presentation will be in the form of a standard seminar/talk supported by PowerPoint slides, and will be required to be delivered in class during scheduled tutorial times in Week 9.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Introduce the research question and clearly state the aims and objectives of the work
Describe the survey design
Succinctly summarise the key scientific, methodological, and ethical facets of the field activity undertaken
1 2
Accurately synthesise the ecological importance or conservation significance of the project;
Communicate your interpretation of the material in a professional manner
Answer questions appropriately in the context of animal ecology and conservation
Make an active contribution to group work
All - Assessment Task 3:Exam
Demonstrate your understanding of the key concepts and techniques in animal ecology and support your practice in animal ecology.
Product: Examination - Centrally Scheduled
An online exam based on the material covered in learning materials, tutorials and the field course.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Correctly identify and outline the key concepts of animal evolution, adaptations, and ecology as presented in the learning materials, tutorials and field course, and contained in supporting readings
Demonstrate your knowledge of animal ecology
Apply knowledge from learning materials and readings to solve unseen problems
1 3

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Recommended Smith, B, Waudby, H, Alberthsen, C, Hampton, J. (Eds) 2022 Wildlife Research in Australia 1 CSIRO Publishing

Specific requirements

You will be required to undertake field work in outdoor environments for up to three days. You will be required to wear covered footwear, hat, long-sleeved shirt and long trousers for field safety. Accommodation and food costs for these trips will be covered. Please discuss any financial hardship that might be associated with the field studies with the Course Coordinator.

How are risks managed in this course?

Risk assessments have been performed for all field activities and low to moderate levels of health and safety risk exists. Moderate risks may include working in an Australian bush setting, working with people, working outside normal office hours for example. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Eligibility for Supplementary Assessment

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct.

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day 
- 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


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Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

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Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Conduct
  • Students with a Disability

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General Enquiries

  • In person:
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    • UniSC Moreton Bay - Service Centre, Ground Floor, Foundation Building, Gympie Road, Petrie
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