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Unit of study_

BIOL1007: From Molecules to Ecosystems

Paradigm shifts in biology have changed the emphasis from single biomolecule studies to complex systems of biomolecules, cells and their interrelationships in ecosystems of life. Such an integrated understanding of cells, biomolecules and ecosystems is key to innovations in biology. Life relies on organisation, communication, responsiveness and regulation at every level. Understanding biological mechanisms, improving human health and addressing the impact of human activity are the great challenges of the 21st century. This unit will investigate life at levels ranging from cells, and biomolecule ecosystems, through to complex natural and human ecosystems. You will explore the importance of homeostasis in health and the triggers that lead to disease and death. You will learn the methods of cellular, biomolecular, microbial and ecological investigation that allow us to understand life and discover how expanding tools have improved our capacity to manage and intervene in ecosystems for our own health and organisms in the environment that surround and support us . You will participate in inquiry-led practicals that reinforce the concepts in the unit. By doing this unit you will develop knowledge and skills that will enable you to play a role in finding global solutions that will impact our lives.


Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Unit code BIOL1007
Unit name From Molecules to Ecosystems
Session, year
Semester 2, 2021
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Remote
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

BIOL1907 or BIOL1997
Assumed knowledge

HSC Biology. Students who have not completed HSC Biology (or equivalent) are strongly advised to take the Biology Bridging Course (offered in February).

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Samantha Hockey,
Administrative staff SOLES education office, Level 5 Carslaw,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Record+) Type B final exam Final Exam
Type B
40% Formal exam period 1.5 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment LabArchives
Written assessments linked to practicals
33% Multiple weeks Variable
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Participation Participation
Active participation in lab groups and formative MCQ revision quizzes
2% Ongoing Variable
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5
Assignment Scientific Report
Written scientific lab report
15% Week 09 Details on Canvas (approx. 4 pages)
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Skills-based evaluation Proficiency Assessment
SAQ/MCQ based on lab identification and calculation skills
10% Week 12 25 min
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO5 LO3
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?
  • Scientific report: A report based on the photosynthesis practical. Your scientific report should be uploaded to Turnitin via Canvas. 
  • LabArchives record: An assessment of practical write-ups on LabArchives.
  • Participation: Active participation in practicals and formative assessments
  • Proficiency assessment: Perform a skills test relating to practical techniques
  • Exam: The exam will cover all material in the unit from both lectures and practical classes. More information and sample exam papers, will be available later in the session

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

  • factual information of an outstanding standard with a sophisticated grasp of the principles and interpretation
  • clear evidence of critical analysis, understanding of experimental design and statistical analysis, integration of knowledge and application to the experimental situation, evidence of originality of thought


75 - 84

  • factual information of a superior standard with a sophisticated grasp of the principles and interpretation
  • good evidence of critical analysis, understanding of experimental design and statistical analysis and integration of knowledge; good understanding of the application of knowledge; some evidence of application to the experimental situation


65 - 74

  • factual information of a high standard, but some information may be incorrect or missing, with sound grasp of the principles and interpretation
  • critical analysis is mainly superficial and relevance of knowledge not always clear, understanding of experimental design and statistical analysis is sufficient and applied to the experimental situation


50 - 64

  • factual information is of an acceptable standard but basic and contains gaps, errors or inconsistencies/contradictions
  • critical analysis is relatively poor, material may be correct but not entirely relevant; surface understanding of experimental design and statistical analysis with limited application to the experimental situation and limited interpretation


0 - 49

  • a significant amount of factual information is incorrect
  • misses the point, fundamental misunderstandings evident
  • evidence of plagiarism

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Multiple weeks Weekly 3hr practicals (except wk 8 due to Labour Day) - currently conducted via Zoom due to COVID-19. Practical details provided on Canvas. Practical (36 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Weekly Two to three content lectures per week (pre-recorded), plus a synchronous Q&A session after each lecturer has presented. Details of lectures and content provided on Canvas. Lecture (30 hr) LO1 LO2

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: Unless otherwise indicated, students are expected to attend a minimum of 80% of timetabled practicals for a unit of study, unless granted exemption by the Associate Dean. The Associate Dean may determine that a student has failed a unit of study because of inadequate attendance.

Semester 2 Cohort:

  • Study load: You are expected to dedicate at least 5-6 hours per week face to face on campus for 13 weeks of this unit and  at least another 5-6 hours off campus.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

There is no prescribed textbook for this unit.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate an understanding of biology: (i) value the diverse range of biological sub-disciplines and the complexity, variability and unpredictability of living systems (ii) appreciate the importance of sustainability and the impact of biology within the broader economic, social and environmental context
  • LO2. demonstrate depth and breadth of biological knowledge: (i) describe and explain broad biological concepts with relevant examples (ii) explain the biological organisation from molecules to cells and to ecosystems which integrate to form a dynamic network (iii) describe how structure and function are interrelated from the level of molecules to organisms
  • LO3. demonstrate inquiry and problem-solving abilities: (i) propose and test hypotheses to explain biological phenomena (ii) identify and use appropriate technical and analytical skills to collect data (iii) analyse quantitative data to critically evaluate evidence for biological explanations
  • LO4. demonstrate appropriate and effective communication: (i) produce written, visual, and oral explanations to communicate to a scientific audience and to the general public (ii) contribute to both independent and group tasks
  • LO5. demonstrate development in personal and professional responsibility: (i) evaluate and debate arguments on biological phenomena in a respectful and ethical manner (ii) reflect on your development as a student and the responsibility you have to find and apply information and work ethically, responsibly and safely

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
As is normal process of improving units of study the assessment profile of the unit has been adjusted to take into consideration feedback from the previous year.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances 
  • A laboratory coat and closed-toe shoes are mandatory 
  • Follow safety instructions in your manual and posted in laboratories 
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door 
  • First aid kits, eye wash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory 
  • As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service:


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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