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This course provides a fundamental grounding in the main concepts in and applications of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. The most important concepts in population, community, landscape and ecosystem ecology are covered. These are considered using examples from across marine, freshwater, forest, grassland, urban and production ecosystems, and with particular reference to the factors controlling the distribution of plants, animals and microbes in Aotearoa New Zealand, and their differences to other countries. There is a particular emphasis on the problems and issues affecting natural systems, and how ecological knowledge can be applied to achieve solutions. We will also recognise taongo species and consider Maori perspectives on cultural management of natural resources. Overall, this course provides a thorough overview for those wanting to compliment other environmental knowledge. It can be combined with BIOL275 Field Ecology to provide a comprehensive platform for those wanting to undertake more advanced ecological study.
A basic understanding of biology is assumed, including knowledge of evolution, population genetics and basic ecology provided by BIOL112. It will be helpful if students also have knowledge of organismal diversity from BIOL113. It will be helpful if students are actively acquiring statisticalknowledge, for example, we generally expect you have taken STAT101 (or equivalent) in your firstyear, and likely be taking a 200 level data analysis course (BIOL209, GEOG205, GEOG208). If this is not the case then discuss this with the course coordinator.
As a student in this course, I will develop the ability to:Apply the main concepts in population, community and ecosystem ecology to appropriate situations (assessment: test and final exam) Related Graduate Attributes and Kaupapa: Critically competent in the core academic discipline, Globally aware.Be able to discuss and interpret factors controlling the distribution and abundance of organisms at individual to global scales (assessment: test and final exam; GP1) Related Graduate Attributes and Kaupapa: Critically competent in the core academic discipline, Employable, innovative and enterprising, Globally aware.Describe the problems affecting ecosystems globally, and be able to discuss how ecological knowledge from a range of perspectives can be applied to achieve solutions (assessment: quiz, test and final exam) Related Graduate Attributes and Kaupapa: Critically competent in the core academic discipline, Biculturally Competent and Confident (kaupapa 1,3,5,6), Employable, innovative and enterprising, Globally aware.An understanding of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand as it applies to native species as taonga and Māori cultural management of biological resources. (assessment: quiz, test and final exam). Related Graduate Attributes and Kaupapa: Critically competent in the core academic discipline, Biculturally Competent and Confident (kaupapa 1,3,5,6), Employable, innovative and enterprising.Synthesize scientific literature to provide appropriate background, context and interpretation for an ecological question (assessment: test, final exam) Related Graduate Attributes and Kaupapa: Critically competent in the core academic discipline, Employable, innovative and enterprising.Transferable SkillsAs a student in this course, I will develop the following skills:Synthesis & interpretation of information. Research findings will be discussed in lectures, and implementing this skill will be important in all course assessment.Formation of hypotheses & explanations. Developing explanations for patterns and observations is important to developing an understanding of principle concepts. We will encourage this through discussions and feedback on test.
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.
Biculturally competent and confident
Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
Feedback from BIOL270 Course Surveys BIOL 270 was the previous version of this course and was last surveyed in 2018. Given 2021 is the first time the new version On a 1-5 scale where 1 = worst and 5 = best (last surveyed in 2018)Standard questions 2018 (n=53, 84%) Q1 - The materials provided helped me to understand what was required to succeed in this course. 4.5 Q2 - The organisation of this course helped me learn. 4.5 Q3 - I found the workload was appropriate to the level of the course. 4.3 Q4 - I found the assessments appropriate for the course. 4.4 Q5 - Where I sought feedback on my assessments, I found it helpful. 4.3The following issues and comments (with number of students) were raised feedback by students at the 2018 end-of-course survey and some surveys prior. Actions or responses indicated in italic. 1. It would have been nice to have a few more readings which were discussed briefly in class (1) Readings are definitely part of each section of the course and can be assessed. We’ll be making a bigger effort in to mention these in class. 2. Test helpful for splitting up material & giving feedback (2); and first test is intense (1); spacing of assessments spot on – We have tweaked the amount of work required in the test given the time allowed to improve the balance. We do think the test is a really useful aid to learning though coming early in the course. The overall score here suggest we have got the balance about right.
Smith, T. M. , Smith, Leo Robert;
Elements of ecology
Ētahi atu tuhinga e whai take ana | Other useful readingsBegon M, Howarth RW, Townsend CR (2014) Essentials of ecology, 4th edition. Blackwell. (Previous course textbook)Dawson, J, Lucas, R (2000) Nature guide to the New Zealand forest. Godwit. (Field guide useful for field course).Rauemio Ako | Course materials Additional information including course handouts and supplementary reading will be posted on Ako | Learn.Please also note that we will be requesting that you submit written work in both hard copy (for grading) and in electronic form (for assessment of originality using Turnitin). Instructions will be given on how you do this via Learn.
Domestic fee $988.00
International fee $5,250.00
* 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