PLANT SC 7022EX - Invasion Biology: Foundations of Biosecurity

External - Semester 2 - 2018

An understanding of invasion biology provides a foundation for the principles and practices of biosecurity. This course will consider case studies of insects, plant diseases and weeds that have invaded ecosystems. This will lead to a consideration of the ecological theory that applies to biological invasions, including colonisation and propagule pressure, population growth, predator-prey and pathogen host interactions, Allee effects and population viability, the factors that affect the spread of invasive species, and the genetics and evolution of founding populations. The biological and ecological factors that influence the impact of invasive species will be evaluated.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PLANT SC 7022EX
    Course Invasion Biology: Foundations of Biosecurity
    Coordinating Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s External
    Units 3
    Contact External
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assessment Major project, Practical reports, online quizzes
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Emeritus Professor Michael Keller

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On sucessful completion of this course students should be able to:
    1. Apply ecological theory to explain the entry, establishment, spread and impact of populations, particularly non-indigenous organisms that threaten plant health.
    2. Evaluate the potential threats posed by non-indigenous organisms that attack or compete with plants.
    3. Design generic surveillance and monitoring programs for invertebrates, weeds and plant pathogens.
    4. Communicate technical and scientific information and concepts in written and graphical forms.
    5. Explain the impact of invasive species on ecosystems.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    This course is delivered online in a series of modules. Each module comprises a major reading, associated supporting materials, and a list of selected papers.

    Students receive a course book and memory stick that has copies of the assignment files major readings and selected papers.

    Students have an opportunity to communicate with the lecturer and other students in an online discussion and via email.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student should expect to spend, on average, around 146 hours on their studies in this three-unit course.
    Learning Activities Summary

    This unit comprises 12 modules. Each module is comprised of one or more parts that cover a particular aspect of invasion biology.

    1. Introduction and overview

    2. Case studies of biological invasions

    3. Characteristics of invasive species and invasions

    4. Transport and pathways of invasion

    5. Propagules

    6. Initial establishment

    7. Population viability and population growth

    8. Spread

    9. Impact

    10. Monitoring spread and impact

    11. Management of invasive species

    12. Future perspectives
    Specific Course Requirements

    The following texts and other resources are required in this course:

    The course focuses on a series of modules that are delivered via MyUni or memory stick. Each module has (1) a PowerPoint lecture delivered using Articulate software, (2) a prepared reading 10-12 pages [excluding references], and (3) prescribed reading from the textbook, Invasion Biology by Julie Lockwood. Some lectures also include short videos of interviews with experts and others involved with invasions of plant pests. Access to MyUni and online journals through the Library is essential.

    Students receive a course book and memory stick that has copies of the assignment, the major readings and selected papers.

    Students have an opportunity to communicate with the lecturer and other students in an online discussion and via email.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment task Type of assessment Percentage of total assessment for grading purposes Hurdle
    Outcomes being assessed/achieved Approximate timing of assessment
    Glossary of technical terms Summative 10% No 1,2,3,4,5
    Major report Summative 45% No 1,2,3,4,5
    Practical Report 1 Summative 25% No 1,2,3,4,5
    Practical Report 2 Summative 20% NO 1,4,5
    Assessment Detail

    Description of Assessment:

    * Glossary of technical terms (10%)

    Students prepare a glossary of 25 technical terms that are used by biologists to describe and explain aspects of invasion biology. Students choose the terms, with at least one term chosen from each module.

    * Major report: Analysis of the Biology and Invasive Potential of a Selected Organism (45%)

    Students select an organism and a location, and then analyse the biological attributes and environmental interactions of the selected species to develop a sound understanding of either (1) its potential to invade the selected location or (2) an invasion that has occurred or is in progress. They are free to choose any plant, invertebrate animal or cellular microorganism (i.e., not a virus) and any country or region.

    * Practical Assignment 1: Sampling and Surveillance (25%)

    Students design sampling programs for selected plant pests to monitor them (1) at border inspections and on relevant traded goods, (2) following a hypothetical incursion to determine population size and spread, and (3) to validate eradication programs. This includes proposals for both statistical and methodological details of sampling. Students have to employ one of their proposed sampling methods and undertake a thorough analysis of the data, including application to the development of a sampling program.

    * Practical Assignment 2: MaxEnt prediction of distribution (20%)

    Students predict the potential distribution of a selected species using MaxEnt based on climatic data. They gain a general understanding of how the potential distributions of species are estimated.

    All assignments are sent to the course coordinator via email.

    Late submission:

    Assessment tasks must be submitted by the stated deadlines. There will be a penalty for late submission of assessment tasks: the submitted work will be marked ‘without prejudice’ and 10% of the obtained mark will be deducted for each working day (or part of a day) that an assessment task is late, up to a maximum penalty of 50% of the mark attained. An examiner may elect not to accept any assessment task that a student wants to submit after that task has been marked and feedback provided to the rest of the class.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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