Terrestrial ecology and the application to conservation biology, including evolutionary ecology, population biology, species interactions, community, ecosystem and landscape ecology. New Zealand and overseas case studies are considered throughout the course. An analytical approach is taken in the field trips and laboratory work including the use of statistics to test ecological hypotheses and to identify patterns in plant and animal distributions. There is one compulsory weekend field trip
A general review of modern evolutionary biology and evolutionary theories, encompassing micro- and macro-evolution. The course centres on genetic and environmental processes that operate in natural populations and among species. It explores the history and development of evolutionary thinking, the origins and age of life on earth, and prehistoric biodiversity. Other topics include evolutionary changes in DNA, human evolution, origin of life, the nature of species and how species arise. Laboratory classes include a range of theoretical, practical and computing exercises in population genetics, phylogenetics and data management.
Introduction to the diversity of prokaryote and eukaryote microorganisms. Population biology and community ecology including microbe-microbe, microbe-plant, and microbe-animal interactions. Adaptations of microbes to extreme environments. The role of microorganisms in biogeochemical cycles, and aspects of applied microbiology, e.g. bioremediation, biological control, composting and biogas.
An insight into evolution: Evolution by natural selection; theories on the origin of life; the geological, biological, phylogenetic and rational evidence for evolution by common descent; the origins of genetic variation; micro-evolutionary process and pattern; the genetic theory of adaptation; phenotypic variation and the evolution of life histories; macro-evolutionary process and pattern; the evolution of cooperation and conflict; the origin of sex, language and society.
An introduction to Marine Biology - the scientific study of life in the sea. First principles of marine biology from history of Marine Biology to use of the sea as a fundamental resource. Studying the ocean as a habitat and examining the form and function of marine taxa within marine biomes, students will discover how the biology, behaviour and ecology of organisms differ between contrasting marine environments.
A general introduction to the study of freshwater ecosystems, including the physical and chemical cycles which occur in streams and lakes and their effects on the biota. Composition and population dynamics of the biota. The effects of pollution on freshwater systems and their restoration. The study and management of freshwater fisheries.
196.315 Applied Ecology and Resource Management15 credits
The principles and practice of management of land and pests and of conservation; the utilisation and sustainable development of natural resources by the application of ecological principles. Considerable emphasis is placed on the practical course which includes modelling using a computer. There are compulsory field days.
Global issues in concept-based plant ecology taught from a New Zealand perspective. Topics include plant growth dynamics, community assembly rules, plant successional concepts and models, herbivory impacts, life history strategies, invasion ecology and plant reproduction. Practical work includes compulsory field days.
A theoretical perspective to the study of community and ecosystem ecology examining the role of interactions between two or more species and their environment. Topics covered include techniques of community description, abiotic and biotic controls of community structure, the effects of disturbance, food web theory, ecosystem function and biodiversity. The emphasis will be on understanding the models and theories relating to this area of science, although examples of the application of these principles will also be given. Practical classes will involve a small research project emphasising the statistical and writing skills important in community and ecosystem ecology.
The diverse array of DNA and protein-based technologies used in the study of natural populations will be considered. These include isozymes, multilocus minisatellites, Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphisms (RFLPs), mitochondrial DNA sequencing, microsatellite DNA markers and single nucleotide polymorphism. Important ecological problems such as kinship, sex assignment, parentage, diet and aspects of conservation genetics such as consequences of population bottlenecks are addressed.
An in-depth view of topics in the ecology of marine organisms and their habitats. Students will study one or more topics to provide an advanced education in central issues in marine ecological sciences.
This course examines the zoogeography of marine mammals and the morphological, physiological and behavioural adaptations which have enabled this diverse group to successfully colonise all of the world's oceans and some freshwater systems. An understanding of the underlying ecological principles not only provides interesting insights into marine mammal biology but also yields consequences for marine mammal conservation and management.
Modern ecology requires quantitative tools to test hypotheses, develop models and make predictions for ecological phenomena in the natural world. This course covers some of the most important advanced statistical modelling tools and software for ecological applications. Topics may include: quantifying biodiversity and modelling species populations, behaviour, interactions or communities with frequentist or Bayesian methods in R and/or WinBUGS software.
This course presents an historical and theoretical perspective to the study of freshwaters, building on the general introduction in196.313. Topics covered include stream ecosystem structure and function, aquatic macrophytes, plankton, freshwater fish, disturbance and land use impacts, and the implications of the Resource Management Act to aquatic ecology.
This course explores contemporary issues in ecology, emphasising a functional outlook on the role of species in communities. It will focus on biodiversity and the interactions of organisms as stimuli for biodiversity. Topics include diversity and ecosystem function, patterns of species diversity, keystone species, herbivory, community structure, assembly roles and food web studies.
Theoretical topics in plant ecology and ecophysiology, such as forest dynamics, population structures, reproductive strategies, spatial pattern, pollination biology, and ontogenetic effects, investigated through a coordinated course of practical work and literature investigations.