BIOL273-19S2 (C) Semester Two 2019

New Zealand Biodiversity and Biosecurity

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 15 July 2019
End Date: Sunday, 10 November 2019
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 26 July 2019
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 27 September 2019


An overview of the indigenous flora and fauna of New Zealand, including their biogeographic origins, the unique and unusual aspects of native organisms, the makeup of native communities, and their interactions with introduced organisms. Emphasis will be placed on the role of biological invaders in modifying New Zealand ecosystems.

What’s not to love about New Zealand’s biodiversity?

In this course, students interested in the ecology, evolution, conservation of New Zealand plants and animals are provided with an overview of New Zealand’s biogeographic origins, the unique and unusual aspects of native species, their interactions with introduced species, and the makeup of native communities.

These topics will help students to understand what is so special about New Zealand’s biodiversity, as well as the challenges that it is facing.

This knowledge provides a framework for other courses with a focus on ecology, evolution, and conservation.

Students will also learn biodiversity monitoring skills as part of field work on campus and in Riccarton Bush.

The data that they generate during this field work will be used inform the UC campus development plan.

Finally, students will learn literature-research skills by writing a case study on an invasive species in New Zealand.

Learning Outcomes

  • As a Student in this Course, I will develop the ability:
  • to describe the processes that lead to the evolution and development of the New Zealand flora and fauna (assessment task: final exam);
  • to understand the effects of human activities on the past and current states of New Zealand’s biodiversity, and on its future (assessment task: final exam);
  • to understand the factors that have led to the decline in biodiversity and the importance of biosecurity in maintaining the remaining biodiversity (assessment task: final exam);
  • to be able to identify key components of the local flora and fauna in the field (assessment task: field trip and lab reports);
  • to be able to access the primary scientific literature reviewing the current state of knowledge on any species of plant or animal in New Zealand (assessment task: case study review).

    Transferable Skills Register
    As a Student in this Course, you will develop the following skills:
  • The ability to undertake and write a review of the primary scientific literature on an invasive plant or animal and its impact on the native New Zealand biota. (To gather the information needed for this assignment you will have to learn how to conduct a literature search, read through and extract the appropriate information for your topic from the scientific literature, and summarise the results of your literature search in an essay using scientific prose, including appropriate referencing and citing of material.)
  • A knowledge of the basics of plant and animal identification in the field, as well as simple practical skills in the survey of biodiversity. (During a field trip, practical skills in the identification of plants, birds, aquatic organisms and fossils will be developed. You will also learn some basic techniques for surveying biodiversity.)
  • An understanding of the diversity of the New Zealand flora and fauna, how it arose, and the current threats to its survival. (Lectures will detail the key features of the plants and animals of New Zealand, the high level of endemicity and how it arose, the threats to the continued survival of these species, and how these threats can be reversed to ensure no future extinctions occur.)




Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Jim Briskie


Pieter Pelser and Jonathan Harding

Lab Technician

Linda Morris


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Final Exam 40%
Online Test 15%
Case study review 16 Sep 2019 30%
Lab Report 18 Oct 2019 15%

Additional Course Outline Information

Assessment and grading system


What if I have written more than the word or page limit?

If there is a word limit on an assignment, it is usually there to stop you doing too much work and to encourage you to write succinctly.  It also makes things easier to assess.  You can be up to 10% over without too much worry, but if the length increases beyond that your mark may suffer due to failure to follow the requirements.  If you find yourself way over the word limit have a chat to the lecturer concerned about how to trim your assignment to an acceptable length.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $883.00

International fee $4,000.00

* 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 Biological Sciences .

All BIOL273 Occurrences

  • BIOL273-19S2 (C) Semester Two 2019