Course Title: Conduct biological surveys

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2022

Course Code: MATH5356C

Course Title: Conduct biological surveys

Important Information:

Please note that this course may have compulsory in-person attendance requirements for some teaching activities.

To participate in any RMIT course in-person activities or assessment, you will need to comply with RMIT vaccination requirements which are applicable during the duration of the course. This RMIT requirement includes being vaccinated against COVID-19 or holding a valid medical exemption.

Please read this RMIT Enrolment Procedure as it has important information regarding COVID vaccination and your study at RMIT:

Please read the Student website for additional requirements of in-person attendance:

Please check your Canvas course shell closer to when the course starts to see if this course requires mandatory in-person attendance. The delivery method of the course might have to change quickly in response to changes in the local state/national directive regarding in-person course attendance.

School: 530T Built Environment and Sustainability

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5418 - Diploma of Conservation and Ecosystem Management

Course Contact: Thierry Demathieu

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 8359

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Joce Sebastian 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

In this course you will develop 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.

The course applies to individuals working as land restoration managers who analyse information and exercise judgement to complete a range of advanced skilled activities demonstrating a deep knowledge in specific technical areas within land management. They have accountability for the work of others and analyse, design and communicate solutions to a range of complex problems.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

AHCECR502 Conduct biological surveys


1. Carry out preliminary design activities for the biological survey

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Identify survey scope, objectives and constraints according to client brief

1.2 Source, collate and evaluate current data relevant to survey requirements

1.3 Develop processes for data collection and processing consistent with the survey scope, objectives and constraints

1.4 Design survey plan reflecting client requirements and present to client for approval

1.5 Incorporate workplace health and safety and environmental sustainability and biosecurity procedures into plan


2. Determine requirements of the biological survey

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Identify biological survey indicators and evaluate constraints and opportunities for data collection

2.2 Identify data collection points that are repeatable and statistically representative

2.3 Identify hazards associated with a biological survey, assess risks and develop controls, determine costs, and document in the survey design

2.4 Secure permits and approvals required for survey according to ethical standards, workplace procedures and legislative requirements

2.5 Determine tools, equipment and machinery required for the survey and confirm availability with suppliers

2.6 Schedule survey activities and surveyor access according to the survey design

2.7 Document survey procedures and schedules and present to stakeholders and client for approval


3. Conduct the biological survey

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Conduct field visit to verify existing data and update information

3.2 Conduct the biological survey according to the survey design

3.3 Monitor survey activities for accuracy, compliance to the survey design and legislative and ethical standards

3.4 Undertake staged data collection according to the survey design, scheduling and surveyor access requirements

3.5 Record all monitoring and survey data according to specifications of the survey design


4. Compile a biological survey report

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Analyse data and draw conclusions based on evidence and reasoned arguments

4.2 Prepare a biological survey report according to agreed timeframes and client outcomes and workplace standards

4.3 Present report to the client

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course you will have developed and applied the skills and knowledge required to demonstrate competency in the above elements. 

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.

Week Starting

Learning activity



Orientation Week (1st Years)


What is Biodiversity?

Why survey?

Biological classification


Biological classification and Animal ID references

Dichotomous keys



Scope for Bird Macroinvertebrate Survey

Bird Identification, habitat and behavior.


Field Trip


Preparation for Biological Survey:

  • Scope for Bird Survey
  • OH&S for field work
  • Method?
  • Research and collation of background information for bird study




Toolangi Threatened species and habitat



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

Australian Ecosystems

Ecological vegetation Classes

Toolangi Threatened species and habitat

Field Trip



First Biological  Survey

Field Trip


Food webs Trophic Levels


Eucalyptus ID – recognising dominant plant species in Ecological Vegetation Classes

Field Trip


Melbourne Botanic Gardens


Second Biological Survey

Field Trip

Mid Semester Break, no classes

Thursday 14th  April to Wed 20th  April



Laboratory Macroinvertebrate Identification


TBC No Class – Seb on 2nd yr Camp


Report Writing Data Analysis



Laboratory Macroinvertebrate Identification


Ecological Principles - Habitat and Energy flows in natural systems

Mid year break No Classes until Week starting 4th July

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the semester. Your knowledge and understanding of course content is assessed through participation in class exercises, oral presentations and through the application of learned skills and insights to your written tasks. Full assessment briefs will be provided and can be found on CANVAS. 

Assessment Tasks

Task 1:Bird and Terrestrial Macroinvertebrate Survey Proposal

Task 2Ecology, Habitat and Food Webs

Task 3:Bird and Terrestrial Macroinvertebrate Survey Report

Assessment Matrix

Assessment information:

This course is graded in accordance with competency-based assessment

Unit Code AHCECR502 Unit Title Conduct biological surveys

Date Competency Assessment Map completed/revised 15/12/2021

Position of the person/s who mapped assessments to the unit Assessor, Assessment Writer

Approved by Thierry Demathieu

Other Information

Credit Transfer and/or Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
You may be eligible for credit towards courses in your program if you have already met the learning/competency outcomes through previous learning and/or industry experience. To be eligible for credit towards a course, you must demonstrate that you have already completed learning and/or gained industry experience that is:

  • Relevant
  • Current
  • Satisfies the learning/competency outcomes of the course

Please refer to to find more information about credit transfer and RPL.

Study Support: 

Study Support provides free learning and academic development advice to you. 
Services offered by Study Support to support your numeracy and literacy skills are: 

assignment writing, thesis writing and study skills advice 
maths and science developmental support and advice 
English language development 

Please Refer to find more information about Study and learning Support 

Equitable Learning Services (ELS):

If you are suffering from long-term medical condition or disability, you should contact Equitable Learning Services (ELS) to seek advice and support to complete your studies.
Please refer to to find more information about services offered by Equitable Learning Services (ELS).

Late submission: 

If you require an Extension of Submittable Work (assignments, reports or project work etc.) for 7 calendar days or less (from the original due date) and have valid reasons, you must complete and lodge an Application for Extension of Submittable Work (7 Calendar Days or less) form and lodge it with the Senior Educator/ Program Manager. 
The application must be lodged no later than one working day before the official due date. You will be notified within no more than 2 working days of the date of lodgment as to whether the extension has been granted. 
If you seek an Extension of Submittable Work for more than 7 calendar days (from the original due date) must lodge an Application for Special Consideration form under the provisions of the Special Consideration Policy, preferably prior to, but no later than 2 working days after the official due date. 

Submittable Work (assignments, reports or project work etc.) submitted late without approval of an extension will not be accepted or marked. 

Special consideration: 

Please Refer to find more information about special consideration 

Academic Integrity: 

"Academic integrity means acting with the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility in learning, teaching and research."

It means referencing the work of others while developing your own insights, knowledge and ideas.

Breaches of academic integrity include:

  • plagiarism and failure to correctly acknowledge sources
  • contract cheating or paying/getting another person to prepare an assignment
  • submitting work prepared by another person
  • copying other people’s work
  • cheating in exams
  • breaching the Research Code
  • using unauthorised materials or devices

Please Refer: to find more information about plagiarism. 

All email communications will be sent to your RMIT email address and you must regularly check your RMIT emails.

Students will be able to access course information and learning materials through the Learning Hub and may be provided with additional materials in class. Lists of relevant reference books, resources in the library and accessible Internet sites will be provided where possible. You will also use equipment and software packages in the laboratory for the project work. During the course, you will be directed to websites to enhance your knowledge and understanding of difficult concepts

Check the Library Subject Guides: RL:

Course Overview: Access Course Overview