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BIO1101 Biology 1

Semester 1, 2021 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Biology 1
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Sciences
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 010999 - Biological Sciences not elsewh
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Ursula Kennedy


This course aims at providing students with a basic grounding in the fundamental concepts of biology and the application of scientific method in solving problems. It provides a theoretical and practical foundation for science and non-science students.


This course provides a brief history to life on earth, introduces the characteristics and diversity of organisms and provides a comprehensive foundation in cell structure and function, energy transformations (photosynthesis and respiration), genetics and an introduction to the principles of ecology. The course concludes with an exploration of evolution - the process by which organisms change over time. The scientific method is used to design, perform and interpret the results of experiments in biology. This course contains a highly recommended residential school for external students and highly recommended on-campus laboratories or practical classes for on-campus students (non-attendance will mean the student misses both an element for assessment preparation and an element of assessment).


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. outline the principles of biological classification and binomial nomenclature;
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the evolutionary history of life on earth;
  3. examine and describe the structure and function of cells and their organelles;
  4. describe the structure of cell membranes and outline the principles governing dialysis, osmosis and membrane transport systems;
  5. discuss the laws governing energy transformations and the role of enzymes in biological systems;
  6. outline the processes of photosynthesis, glycolysis, aerobic and anaerobic respiration;
  7. describe the processes of mitosis and meiosis;
  8. demonstrate an understanding of basic Mendelian genetics;
  9. demonstrate an understanding of DNA structure and how proteins are formed from genes;
  10. give an overview of ecological principles and processes at the ecosystem level;
  11. demonstrate appreciation of the impact of humans and their activities on the environment
  12. describe the mechanics of evolution
  13. plan conduct and report simple scientific experiments in biology


Description Weighting(%)
1. Biodiversity and Classification: Unity and diversity of life: biological organization, basic life processes, origins and diversity of life; Classification and Naming Organisms: principles and problems of classification, taxonomic hierarchy, species concept, binomial nomenclature system of classification. 15.40
2. Cell Structure and Function: Cell Structure and Function - An Overview: cell theory, basic cell structure and function, procaryotic and eucaryotic cells, cell organelles; Membrane Structure and Function: basic models of membrane structure, diffusion, osmosis, dialysis, membrane transport: facilitated diffusion, active transport, endocytosis, exocytosis. 15.40
3. Energy Transformations: Metabolism: Ground Rules and Main Principles: laws governing energy transformations, metabolic reactions and pathways, enzymes, coupling and ATP; Energy - Acquiring Metabolism: photosynthesis and chemosynthesis; Energy - Releasing Metabolism: glycolysis, aerobic and anaerobic pathways, energy yields. 15.40
4. Cell Reproduction and Genetics: Meiosis and mitosis; Mendelian genetics: chromosome structure and function; genotype/phenotype. Inheritance of simple traits; Molecular basis of inheritance: DNA structure, genes to proteins. 23.00
5. Introductory Ecology - what is ecology? ecosystem components, flow of energy, biogeochemical cycles, systems ecology, human impact on the environment 15.40
6. Evolution Mechanisms for evolution; Darwinism in historical context; Summary of evidence for evolution of species; The evolution of populations; The modern synthesis; Major causes of microevolution; Genetic drift, gene flow, mutation and natural selection; The origin of species; The species concept; Allopatric and sympatric speciation; Gradualism and punctuated equilibrium. 15.40

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Kennedy, U and Dearnaley, J 2019, Biology 1 practical notes and exercises, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba.
(to be downloaded from the course study desk.)
Urry, LA, Meyers, N, Cain, ML, Wasserman, SA, Minorsky and Reece, JB 2018, Campbell Biology, 11th edn, Pearson, Benjamin/Cummings, california.
(Australian Version.)
Laboratory Coat.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Pechenik, JA 2016, A short guide to writing about Biology, 9th edn, Pearson Longman, Boston.
Taylor, MR et al 2016, student study guide for Campbell Biology, 11th edn, Benjamin/Cummings, California.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assignments 30.00
Examinations 3.00
Laboratory or Practical Classes 30.00
Lectures 37.00
Private Study 78.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Laboratory Question Set 50 10 23 Feb 2021 (see note 1)
1hr Theory Test M/C 40 10 25 Mar 2021 (see note 2)
Practical Report 1 100 15 08 Apr 2021 (see note 3)
Practical Report 2 100 25 06 May 2021
Open Examination - Online 80 40 End S1 (see note 4)

  1. The examiner will advise the due dates of the Laboratory Question Set. Attendance at the laboratory or practical classes is highly recommended. External students will undertake the laboratory or practical classes at the residential school. The dates and location of the highly recommended residential school are available from the Residential School Timetable (
  2. The examiner will advise the date of the test.
  3. The examiner will advise the due dates of the Practical Report 1 and 2.
  4. This will be an online exam. Students will be provided further instruction regarding the exam by their course examiner via StudyDesk. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the Alternate Assessment Schedule has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    External students are highly recommended to attend the residential school and on-campus students are highly recommended to attend the scheduled laboratories or practical classes as the residential school and laboratories or practical classes are linked to an assessment or an element of assessment preparation. It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks for the item. Students do not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to be awarded a passing grade in this course. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2021 are:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

    Requirements after S1 2021:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the weighted marks available for that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2021 are:
    An Open Examination is one in which candidates may have access to any printed or written material and a calculator during the examination.

    Requirements after S1 2021:
    In a Closed Examination, candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into the examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Normally Deferred and Supplementary Examinations are held in the next Examination period. In S1 2021 selected courses will pilot an early Deferred and Supplementary Examination period held within 30 business days of results release. The list of courses involved can be found at

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. In order to attend laboratory classes, students must provide and wear appropriate personal protective equipment. This shall include a laboratory coat, closed in shoes, and safety glasses. Such equipment must be approved by supervising staff. Failure to provide and wear the appropriate safety equipment will result in students being excluded from classes.

  2. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.

Date printed 18 June 2021