GEOL481-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021

Applied Palaeobiology

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 22 February 2021
End Date: Sunday, 27 June 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 7 March 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 14 May 2021


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 field trip to Oamaru focussed on field skills and observations, and offers the opportunity to collect individual project data and material for analysis during the rest of the course. Other project options include invertebrate micropalaeontology and vertebrate palaeontology. Through these projects students will gain skills in, 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. Students will gain practical experience in spoken communication through formal presentations of their individual projects. Projects will be supported by fortnightly lectures and class discussion, as a means of developing critical assessment.

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.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Catherine Reid

Guest Lecturers

Paul Scofield (Canterbury Museum) and Vanesa De Pietri (Canterbury Museum)


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Research Proposal (Due Term 1, Week 4) 15%
Research paper - methods and intro sections (Due Term 1, end of Week 6) 20%
10-minute project presentation (Due Term 1, Week 6 in-class) 10%
Research paper - results sectio (Due Term 2, Week 4) 10%
Research paper - FINAL (Due Term 2, end of Week 6) 30%
Final project presentation (Due Term 2, Week 6 in-class) 15%

Research proposal (15%)
Methods and introduction section of paper (20%) and 10 minute presentation (10%)
Draft results paper section (10%)
Final paper (30%) and 20 minute presentation (15%)

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,101.00

* 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 departments and faculties page .

All GEOL481 Occurrences

  • GEOL481-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021