BIOSCI 730 : Entomology and Biosecurity


2021 Semester Two (1215) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

More than half of all described species are insects, and even more species await discovery and description. Insects at every trophic level above plants dominate terrestrial and freshwater food chains. Examines the evolution of insects, the importance of their role in terrestrial ecosystems, and the problems posed by insects as biosecurity invaders in non-native environments. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 320 or 338 or equivalent is assumed.

Course Overview

An exploration of insects focusing on their diversity, evolution, ecology and their implications for biosecurity. Topics covered in seminars include (1) biogeography and evolution: understanding what has driven the diversity of insects, (2) ecology: investigating the critical roles of insects in ecosystems such as pollination and (3) insect biosecurity: evaluating the stages of invasion biology from dispersal, establishment, spread and impact. This course provides an opportunity to review a wide range of entomology literature. Students will be provided a basic reading list for each seminar, but are expected to find related literature to broaden their understanding. It is very important that all students complete the assigned reading and come prepared to present their ideas and discuss the topic. Marks are allocated for participation in these discussions. The review assignment allows you to focus on a specific entomology topic that interests you, and, with individual mentoring by staff, synthesize and critique the literature in order to produce a publication quality review. Key aims of the course are to develop your critical thinking and your communication skills. These are skills highly valued by employers and will also be valuable if you continue in further postgraduate study.

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 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe and explain the dimensions and drivers of insect diversity. How many species are there? What is their whakapapa (relationships)? How are they distributed geographically and taxonomically? (Capability 1 and 2)
  2. Work collaboratively and individually to evaluate the role of insects in ecosystems (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 5)
  3. Explain insect biosecurity, including the challenges presented in mitigating the ecological and economic impact (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 6)
  4. Communicate informed critique or analysis of entomological issues across a range of mediums (Capability 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Presentations: Insects in ecosystems and biosecurity 40% Group & Individual Coursework
Assignments: Insect review 50% Individual Coursework
Discussions 10% Group & Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Presentations: Insects in ecosystems and biosecurity
Assignments: Insect review

Key Topics

(1) biogeography and evolution: understanding what has driven the diversity of insects
(2) ecology: investigating the critical roles of insects in ecosystems such as pollination
(3) insect biosecurity: evaluating the stages of invasion biology from dispersal, establishment, spread and impact.

Special Requirements

Must complete compulsory participation. 

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

 Average students are expected to spend 150 hours to achieve a pass. Use the following as a guide.

Contact time = 18 hours  

Insect review (including review outline) = 50 hours  

Presentation: Insects in ecosystems = 20 hours  

Presentation: Insect biosecurity = 20 hours 

Reading literature = 42 hours 

TOTAL 150 hours

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including seminars and tutorials to complete components of the course.
Learning activities including seminars/presentations and tutorials will not be available as recordings.
The course will include live online events including group discussions/tutorials.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

This course is mostly based on the refereed scientific literature. We refer students who lack a detailed understanding of entomology at undergraduate level to the following textbook which is available from the library as an eBook or hard copy, or which can be purchased from the University bookstore: Gullan, P. J., & Cranston, P. S. (2014). The insects: an outline of entomology. John Wiley & Sons.

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.

1. Students reported difficulty in participating in this course online and particularly preferred in-person presentations - response is to request UoA not to make the course available as an online only option
2. Students reported not understanding how grades were assigned - more emphasis will be put on explaining this, and requiring that students hand-in the self-assessment using the marking rubrics.
3. Students requested that a practical component (field work/insect collecting) is added to this course. Response is no change - this course is targeted to deliver different learning outcomes (see above). Development of practical skills is not possible in this course.

Other Information

Compulsory attendance and participation in all seminars is required.

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.

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.


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.

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

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.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Level 1: Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person. All teaching and assessment will have a remote option. Seminars may also have an on campus / in person option.
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely

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 14/06/2021 08:54 p.m.