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Unit of study_

BIOL1997: From Molecules to Ecosystems (SSP)

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 intervene in ecosystems to improve health. The same theory will be covered as in the advanced stream but in this Special Studies Unit, the practical component is a research project. The research will be a synthetic biology project investigating genetically engineered organisms. Students will have the opportunity to develop higher level generic skills in computing, communication, critical analysis, problem solving, data analysis and experimental design.

Code BIOL1997
Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
BIOL1007 or BIOL1907
Assumed knowledge:
90 or above in HSC Biology or equivalent

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

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 2 weeks before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.