Animal diversity is studied within an evolutionary framework. Lectures cover the topics of phylogeny, biogeography, community ecology, morphology, embryology, physiology, behaviour and population biology. During laboratory classes students observe and dissect a variety of animals, study tissues and organs, simulate evolutionary events, carry out field work and analyse population data.
An integration of biological processes through behavioural mechanisms, the functional responses of individuals and the evolution of social behaviour. Practical skills of description, quantification, comparison and experimentation are emphasised.
An analysis of the fauna of New Zealand, covering unique and significant elements of the current fauna, and where appropriate, their relationships to past faunas or those elsewhere. Major lifestyle themes, life history adaptations, and habitat characteristics are explored. Practicals include compulsory field work.
A largely marine-based course that introduces the spectacular diversity amongst invertebrates. An appreciation of the major phyla is gained through learning about their movement, feeding and reproduction. Practical work focuses on identifying invertebrates, understanding how they are constructed and how they function.
The basic chordate structural plan is compared to the structure of cephalochordates and vertebrates. The evolution, form and function of some major organs and organ systems are examined. Special features of fishes, amphibia, reptiles, birds and mammals are highlighted. The geological timescale, zoogeography, physiology, ecology, local examples and aspects of conservation are discussed. Practical work is important.
Insect physiology, plant-insect relationships and an introduction to insect pest management. Basic insect identification skills are taught in the laboratories. Field work is important. A collection is required.
An examination of the behavioural adaptations of animals to their environment with particular emphasis on the evolution of this behaviour. Topics will include feeding, reproduction, habitat selection and social groups.
An exploration of the origins and maintenance of biodiversity using evolutionary and ecological theory, with an emphasis on New Zealand's unique fauna. Factors that determine the distribution and abundance of genetic variation in natural systems, methods of describing this variation (systematics, phylogeography), and ecological processes that maintain this variation are examined. Evolutionary patterns and processes are studied.
The evolution, taxonomy, morphology and behaviour of birds. Recognition of New Zealand birds by sight and sound. Practical work includes dissection and analyses of plumage colouration and vocalisations.
How do animals choose a mate, rear their young, avoid predators, find a meal and communicate with each other? These problems and applications of behavioural ecology to pest control and conservation are investigated in detail through reading current literature and class discussions. Topics change from year to year and according to the interests of the participants.
An advanced course of study involving literature reviews, tutorials and personal research on selected aspects of insect evolution, physiology, behaviour and ecology. Topics could include the evolution of insect flight and sociality, pollination of native plants, courtship and mating behaviour, reproductive hormones and pheromones and insect dispersal, pest management and post-harvest disinfestation.
A review of the theory and methods for the analysis of biodiversity patterns and processes in space and time. Emphasis is placed on the use of phylogenetic trees, phylogeographic analysis and other genetic methods for testing hypotheses in evolution, historical biogeography, and regional biodiversity.