GEOL481-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020

Applied Palaeobiology

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 February 2020
End Date: Sunday, 21 June 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 28 February 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 29 May 2020


This course covers the application and interpretation of micro- and macrofossil data in the analysis of palaeoenvironments, along with taphonomy and bias in the fossil record, and aspects of New Zealand palaeobiogeography, through field and laboratory research projects and seminar based classes.

This course will focus on the practical analysis and application of macro and microfossils in determining past environments and evolutionary patterns. It is recommended for all students interested in palaeontology or Quaternary Science. The course starts with a 2 day field trip to Oamaru to collect individual project data for analysis in the lab over the first term. Through these projects students will gain skills, and develop an understanding of, the description of fossil material, the influence of bias in data collection, and the impacts of depositional processes on the quality and applicability of fossil data. In seminar based classes in term 2 students will gain practical experience in spoken communication and critical evaluation through weekly 10-15 minute presentations of coordinated topics. This will be followed by a whole class discussion of the week’s topic, as a means of developing critical assessment. Topics covered will include the concepts of the application of microfossils in environmental and palaeoseismology studies, their influence on palaeoenvironmental reconstructions, and the evolution and biogeography of the NZ biota. Topics covered in these seminar sessions can be tailored to suit the interests of the class.

Learning Outcomes

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Employable, innovative and enterprising

Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

Globally aware

Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Subject to approval of the Head of Department.

Timetable Note

Provisional schedule for 2019

SEMINARS (2 hours) LABS (3 hours)
8 17th  Feb Class meeting and introduction Weekend field trip Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd
9 24th  Feb Project work
10 2nd March Project work (proposal summary due)
11 19th March Project work
12 16th March Project work
13 23rd March Project work
14 30th March Presentation

SEMESTER BREAK Project due end of semester break

18 28th April Microfossils
19 4th  May Microfossils
20 11th  May Data Analysis
21 18th May NZ biogeography
22 25th  May NZ biogeography

Course Coordinator

Catherine Reid


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Data collection and analysis 30% Data collection and analysis - (in class assignments term 1)
Lower Waipara field trip 10% Lower Waipara field trip (term 2)
Seminar and Class Participation 20% Seminar and Class participation (Term 2)
Final Exam 40% Final Exam

Assessment  TBC
60% individual project (50%) and presentation (10%)
25% seminar and class participation (Term 2)
15% data analysis assignment

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,089.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Earth and Environment on the department and colleges page .

All GEOL481 Occurrences

  • GEOL481-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020