BIOL423-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023

Evolutionary Ecology

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 July 2023
End Date: Sunday, 12 November 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 30 July 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 1 October 2023


Aims to equip ecology students with the evolutionary biology underpinning the dicipline. Students will advance their knowledge of current issues and approaches in evolutionary ecology, particularly those of relevance to global change. The course has a focus on phenotypic evolution and processes occurring at the interface of ecology and evolution.

This course has a focus on real time, rapid evolution and thus is particularly relevant to applied problems in biodiversity, agriculture and conservation. The thread linking the discussion topics is the Anthropocene- specifically how humans impact (and have always impacted) the evolution of other species.  It explores how a combination of molecular, experimental and ecological approaches can be used to investigate how human–non human interactions influence the distribution and abundance of organisms. Key principles include natural selection/ adaptation and phenotypic plasticity/epigenetics, and how they interact.

Recommended preparatory course(s): BIOL377, BIOL378 or BIOL371.

Learning Outcomes

  • As a student in this course, I will develop the ability to:
  • have a critical appreciation of current questions and approaches in evolutionary ecology (assessment task: internal assessment).
  • understand how evolutionary processes underpin ecological interactions (task: seminar).
  • access, synthesise and critically assess primary scientific literature on evolutionary ecology (Assessment task: final exam).
  • synthesise primary scientific literature in order to generate a clear and concise argument in support of a perspective (assessment task: final exam).

    Transferable Skills Register / Pūkenga Ngaio
    As a student in this course, I will develop the following skills:
  • Discovery, interpretation and synthesis of information. (GP1)
  • Evaluation of arguments and evidence, and debating alternative points of view. (GP2)
  • Presenting arguments in a cogent and reasoned way. (GP2)
  • Engaging in science and technology issues with a broader understanding of their social context, and of New Zealand’s global position. (GP5)

    GP1-5 refer to Graduate Profile attributes: (1) Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their degree; (2) employable, innovative and enterprising; (3) biculturally competent and confident; (4) engaged with the community; and (5) globally aware


Subject to approval of the Head of School.



Timetable 2023

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 16:00 - 17:00 Ernest Rutherford 260
17 Jul - 23 Jul
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 14:00 - 16:00 A7
17 Jul - 23 Jul
31 Jul - 6 Aug
14 Aug - 20 Aug
11 Sep - 1 Oct

Timetable Note

Wātaka/Tutorial Topics and Timetable
The proposed topics are listed below.
The Timetable currently has it running on Fridays 1000-1200 hr, but check for updates.

29 July- Evolution in the Anthropocene (natural selection and adaptation) - Run by Hazel
12 August - Evolutionary consequences of species introductions - Run by Hazel
19 August - Evolution within invasive species - Run by Hazel
26 August - Evolution in urban landscapes - Run by Hazel
September Study Break
16 Sept - Using genomics to answer ecological questions - Run by Amy
30 Sept - Evolution in the Anthropocene (epigenetics and plasticity) - Run by Amy

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Hazel Chapman


Amy Osborne


Note that the course assessment will be subject to the Biology policy on late submission of work, and essays may be required in both hard and electronic formats so we can run plagiarism checking software on them (see below). Also note that Biol policy requires you to average at least 40% on the interm work (essay) and at least 40% on the final exam, and get an overall mark of at least 50%, to pass the course.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,114.00

* 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 BIOL423 Occurrences

  • BIOL423-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023