Course Title: Conduct biological surveys

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2019

Course Code: MATH7076C

Course Title: Conduct biological surveys

School: 174T School of VE Engineering, Health & Science

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5367 - Diploma of Conservation and Land Management

Course Contact: Namrita Kaul

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4308

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Seb Buckingham


Nominal Hours: 200

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

This unit of competency describes the skills and knowledge required to plan and conduct biological surveys and produce a biological survey report, according to client requirements and biological components to be surveyed.
This unit applies to land restoration managers who provide and communicate solutions to a range of predictable and unpredictable problems.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

AHCNAR502 Conduct biological surveys


1. Carry out preliminary design activities for the biological survey

Performance Criteria:

1.1. Survey scope, objectives and constraints are identified according to client requirements, biological components to be surveyed and enterprise policy. 1.2. All current data relevant to survey requirements is sourced, collated and evaluated according to enterprise policy. 1.3. Processes for data collection are developed, consistent with the survey scope, objectives and constraints. 1.4. Processes for data processing are developed, consistent with the survey scope, objectives and constraints. 1.5. A survey design that reflects client requirements and survey scope, objectives and constraints is developed and presented to the client for discussion and approval.


2. Determine requirements of the biological survey

Performance Criteria:

2.1. Survey indicators are identified and constraints and opportunities for data collection identified and evaluated. 2.2. Data collection points are identified that are repeatable and statistically representative for the biological survey. 2.3. OHS hazards associated with conducting a biological survey are identified; risks assessed and controls developed according to enterprise guidelines, costed and documented in the survey design. 2.4. Tools, equipment and machinery required for the biological survey are identified, costed and availability confirmed with suppliers, contractors and appropriate personnel. 2.5. Scheduling of survey activities and surveyor access are determined according to the survey design. 2.6. Survey procedures and schedules are documented according to scientific conventions and the survey scope and objectives, and are presented to appropriate personnel and the client for briefing and acceptance.


3. Conduct the biological survey

Performance Criteria:

3.1. Field visits are conducted to verify and consolidate previously collected data and to gather further information on species frequency, distribution, and health and/or habitat values. 3.2. The biological survey is conducted according to the survey design and enterprise policy. 3.3. Survey activities are monitored for accuracy, compliance to the survey design and out-of-specification procedures or events. 3.4. Staged data collection is undertaken according to survey design, survey scheduling and surveyor access requirements. 3.5. All monitoring and survey data is recorded promptly and accurately, according to the specifications of the survey design.


4. Compile a biological survey report

Performance Criteria:

4.1. Analysis of collected data is undertaken according to industry policies and guidelines. 4.2. Conclusions about the biological survey are drawn from relevant information and are based on appropriate evidence and reasoned arguments. 4.3. A biological survey report is produced which conforms to industry standards for presentation, structure and content, and is presented to the client for acceptance. 4.4. The report describes biological survey findings according to the survey scope and objectives, identifies areas requiring remedial action for improvement and details recommendations for action.

Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

Classroom instruction,
Practical work,
visits to conservation reserves;
working in groups and survey teams,
consultation with biological survey clients including Banyule City Council and non-government conservation organisations;
Planning and designing biological surveys;
biological report writing;
gathering historical data from DELWP databases;
data analysis; 
legal requirements of biological surveys;
compiling Standard Operating Procedures;
the role and responsibilities of Animal Ethics Committees.

Teaching Schedule

Week No.


Learning activity





Orientation Week (1st Years)



What is Biodiversity?

Why survey?

Biological classification




Biological classification –

Class work - Mammals, Birds, Reptiles & Amphibians

Animal ID references

Dichotomous keys

Accessing habitat information





Bird Identification

Concept of Dichotomous keys

Undertaking biodiversity surveys - Types of Surveys and Reasons for surveys


Preparation for Bird Survey:

  • Scope for Bird Survey
  • OH&S for field work
  • The Scientific method
  • Research and collation of background information for bird study





Scope for Bird Survey

Bird Identification, habitat and behavior.

Field Trip



Scope for Bird Survey

Accessing habitat information




Ecological Principles – Basic concepts and terminology. Communities and associations.

Australian Ecosystems


Assessment 1 due (24/3/19) Sunday



First Bird Survey TBA

Field Trip



Eucalyptus ID – recognising dominant plant species in Ecological Vegetation Classes

Field Trip


Melbourne Botanic Gardens



Ecological vegetation Classes






Second Bird Survey TBA

Field Trip



Data Analysis Bird Survey




Mid Semester Break, no classes

Mon 22nd April to Fri 26th April




Ecological Principles – Habitat and Energy flows in natural systems, Nutrient cycles




No Class – Seb on 2nd yr Camp 7th May

Assessment 2 due (12/5/19) Sunday



Toolangi Threatened Species  TBA

Field Trip





Ecological Principles - Habitat and Energy flows in natural systems

Assessment 3 due (19/5/19) Sunday



Ecological Principles - Habitat and Energy flows in natural systems




Mid year break No Classes until 8th July


Semester 2 schedule to follow

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this competency may include plant & animal surveys, written reports & assignments, group work and field work assessments

Assessment Tasks

You must attend the four fieldtrips for bird surveys (Sem 1) and the four day camp to Wonthaggi (Sem 2) in order to demonstrate competency in the fieldwork component for this subject. Fieldwork competency includes demonstration of industry accepted survey methods, ethics concerning fauna and Occupation, Health and Safety (OH&S), and you will need to write a proposal on how you plan to conduct surveys. You are expected to keep records during fieldwork and in the case of terrestrial macroinvertebrates, labwork (Notebook and recording sheets).


In addition to two survey reports, there are two written assignments on habitat, ecology and food webs (Sem 1) and threatened fauna species (Sem 2) that will help broaden your knowledge of ecology and the policy, law and strategies currently used to conserve species. Students who attend classes do well in this subject.


Assessment Number


Due Date

% Mark


Project Proposal (Scope, ethics & OHS) for Bird Survey




Habitat, ecology and food webs assignment




Birds of Newport Lakes Report




Threatened fauna species assignment




Notebook and recording sheets




Wonthaggi Fauna Survey Report




Assessment Matrix

Other Information

Assessment information:

This course is graded in accordance with competency-based assessment, but which also utilise graded assessment
CHD Competent with High Distinction (80 – 100%)
CDI Competent with Distinction (70 – 79%)
CC Competent with Credit (60 – 69%)
CAG Competency Achieved – Graded (50 – 59%)
NYC Not Yet Competent (0 – 49%)
DNS Did Not Submit for assessment

  • Students must be satisfactory in all assessment tasks before a grade is applied. 
  • Late work that is submitted without an application for an extension will not be corrected.
  • APPLICATION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME FOR SUBMISSION OF ASSESSABLE WORK- A student may apply for an extension of up to 7 days from the original due date. They must lodge the application form (available online at least 24 hours before the due date. The application form should be emailed to the Program Coordinator ( Students requiring extensions longer than 7 days must apply for Special Consideration (see the ‘Help me’ link in blackboard, via myRMIT studies or
  • For missed assessments such as exams - you (& your doctor if you are sick) must fill out a special consideration form. This form must be lodged online with supporting evidence (e.g. medical certificate), prior to, or within, 5 days of the scheduled time of the assessment.
  • If you miss an assessment  (such as a field trip) due to unavoidable circumstances, you need to follow the procedure of special consideration and apply within the allowed time frame.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview