Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and the environment. In reality, modern ecology is much broader than this, encompassing studies on individuals, species, populations, communities, and ecosystems, and includes behaviour, evolution, physiology, and increasingly molecular biology.
In Aotearoa New Zealand, the study of ecology is especially important. As a small group of islands separated from larger land masses, Aotearoa's flora and fauna evolved unique characteristics in the absence of mammals. The invasion of Aotearoa by humans and the organisms (including mammals) that they introduced has dramatically altered its ecology, leading to drastic reductions in numbers, or even extinctions, of the original animals and plants.
In addition, global climate change is affecting the ecology of Aotearoa, altering the distribution of both native and introduced organisms.
- UC is ranked first in Aotearoa New Zealand for research in Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour (Te Amorangi Mātauranga Matua | Tertiary Education Commission 2018 PBRF assessment).
Year 13 biology and statistics or calculus is strongly recommended.
Some background in chemistry is valuable in most biological disciplines. Some knowledge of geography or earth science is also helpful.
All students should have adequate English skills.
To complete an endorsement in Ecology (and the Biological Sciences major), you will need to take the following courses throughout the degree:
- BIOL 111 Cellular Biology and Biochemistry
- BIOL 112 Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
- BIOL 113 Diversity of Life
- STAT 101 Statistics 1
Ecologists can take up a wide range of careers working for organisations such as the Department of Conservation | Te Papa Atawhai, city councils, Environment Canterbury | Kaunihera Taiao ki Waitaha, universities, and Crown Research Institutes, as well as with private companies such as environmental consulting agencies.
Their work can take them to a wide range of beautiful and unique areas in Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Ecology.
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University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
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