BIOSCI 100 : Antarctica: The Frozen Continent


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

A general introduction to Antarctica and its environs including the Southern Ocean and the sub-Antarctic islands. Emphasis will be placed on the evolution of Antarctica and how resident plants, animals and micro-organisms have adapted to cope with the extreme environment. Specific topics to be addressed include: the history of Antarctic exploration and its impact on the development of Antarctic science, Antarctic ecosystems, Antarctica as a wilderness region, and the impact of humans including the exploitation of resources and the effects of pollution. This course is suitable for students with both science and non-science backgrounds.

Course Overview

This is a general interest course applicable to both science and non-science students. The course is designed to excite students about Antarctica and science. It is taught by people who have lived and worked on the ice. You will learn about the Antarctic environment, history and the organisms that live there as well as many related issues that have impacts at local, regional and global scales. The course will help you develop skills in evaluating and interpreting scientific studies, and to improve your academic writing skills.
Teaching has been planned to allow you opportunities for reflection and to develop your understanding. There are three timetabled classes per week; two content lectures and one lectorial. The lectorial will provide you with opportunities to interact with your lecturers and other students while you work with that week’s information. Our course format is highly engaging and participatory. 

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe the main geographic features of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. (Capability 1)
  2. Explain the processes that regulate the Antarctic climate and ocean circulation and how this influences the rest of the planet. (Capability 1 and 2)
  3. Describe and explain the morphological and ecological diversity of organisms in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. (Capability 1)
  4. Apply and integrate knowledge about the environment, life in the Antarctic, and the activities of people in the region to answer questions about Antarctica. (Capability 2, 3 and 6)
  5. Analyse and explain current issues facing the Antarctic environment and/or the organisms living there. (Capability 2, 3 and 6)
  6. Select and evaluate scholarly information from various sources, including electronic and print resources in order to answer questions about Antarctica. (Capability 2, 3 and 6)
  7. Make predictions about future consequences of changes in the Antarctic environment on life in the region and globally, and communicate these using language and formats appropriate for a scientific audience. (Capability 2, 3 and 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Quizzes 10% Individual Coursework
Test 25% Individual Test
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Assignments 10% Individual Coursework
Essay 15% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Final Exam
All graded assessments are preceded by activities (such as online skill modules, quizzes or worksheets) to help you master the relevant learning outcome in the graded assessment.
To pass this course course students must achieve a total mark of 50% or greater.

Key Topics

1. Exploration
2. Human survival
3. Political
4. Earth and atmosphere
5. Water
6. Human impacts
7. Birds
8. Fish
9. Mammals
10. Ecosystems

Learning Resources

Lectures (lecture capture and slides are available on the web-based learning platform Canvas)
Course notes
Online activities
Task worksheets

Special Requirements

Evening test 6.30 - 8.00 pm.
Drop-in help sessions are available at key times during the semester.

Workload Expectations

During a typical teaching week there will be two hours of lectures, one hour lectorial, and two hours of activities as quizzes and task worksheets. You have three assessments relating to the essay which we estimate you should spend a minimum of 40 hours on. For the 12 teaching weeks, this totals to 90 hours. Since the course as a whole represents approximately 150 hours of study, that leaves a total of 60 hours across the entire semester for independent study, e.g. reading, reflection, preparing for assessments/exams. 

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

This is designed to be an on campus course. Attendance at lectures is highly recommended.

A remote version of the course will be provided to students located overseas. Please contact the course coordinator if you are studying from overseas.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Your course coordinator is Caroline Aspden and the course director is Craig Millar. Please let us know how best we can support you in this course. Details for how to contact us are listed below.
Caroline Aspden, phone +64 9 923 9711, email
Craig Millar, phone +64 923 5186, email

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 01/07/2020 11:32 a.m.