Studying Ecology at Canterbury
Ecology is the study of organisms and how they relate to their environment. Evolution is a closely related area of study that focuses on how organisms change to adapt to their local surroundings.
Related courses are also offered on plant systematics (the study of plant classification and evolutionary relationships) and animal behaviour.
Ecology is an increasingly important field, as we struggle to protect plants and animals from growing human impacts.
Ecologists and evolutionists try to understand our endangered native organisms such as kiwi, kakapo and rare plants, and they also try to predict or mitigate the effects of exotic pests such as possums and old man’s beard. This work can take them to a wide range of beautiful and unique areas in New Zealand and beyond.
The School has teaching and research strengths in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecology.
Graduates who specialise in Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour may take up careers like:
- District conservation officer for the Department of Conservation in Tekapo, Haast...
- Monitoring of ecological values along streams, rivers and estuary for the Christchurch City Council
- Field technician in Landcare Research’s programme to help meet Kyoto agreements on global warming
- Member of project team with a private environmental consulting company
- Operating an aquaculture facility for a Marlbrough Sounds seafood company
BSc (Hons) - Students complete a fourth year of study
comprising four 400-level papers and a research project.
PGDipSc - Students complete a fourth year of study comprising four 400-level papers.
MSc - Students complete a fourth year of study comprising four 400-level papers (part I), then proceed to a research project (part II), written up as a thesis.
PhD - Students complete a 3-4 year research project written up as a thesis. Entry is after successful completion of either BSc(Hons) or an MSc.
Planning Your Degree
Below is a guide to help you select courses that will give you a well rounded degree in ecology.
Full regulations for endorsements can be found at: www.canterbury.ac.nz/regulations/award/bsc_schedule_endorsements.shtml
BIOL 111 Cellular Biology & Biochemistry
BIOL 112 Ecology, Evolution & Conservation
BIOL 113 Diversity of Life
STAT 101 Statistics 1 *
* Biology majors are required to take BIOL 209 Introduction to Biological Data Analysis (or equivalent preparation e.g. STAT 201, PSYC 206). From 2014 Stat 101 will be a prerequisite for Biol 209.
CHEM 112 General Chemistry B**
MATH 101 Methods of Mathematics ***
GEOG 106 Global Environmental Change
GEOG 108 Resources and Sustainability
GEOL 111 Planet Earth: An Introduction to Geology
GEOL 112 Understanding Earth History
* Students with fewer than 9 credits of NCEA level 3 chemistry (or equivalent) will need to take CHEM 114 before doing CHEM 112.
** Unless you have good NCEA level 3 credits in maths, it is essential that you take a minimum of 15 points in MATH (MATH 101).
At least 45 points from:
BIOL 210 Vertebrate Biology
BIOL 211 Insect Biology
BIOL 212 Marine Biology and Ecology
BIOL 215 Plant Diversity & Systematics
BIOL 255 Plant Ecophysiology
BIOL 272 Principles of Animal Behaviour
BIOL 273 New Zealand Biodiversity and Biosecurity
BIOL 309 Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists *
* Note students wishing to progress to 4th year in any Biology major are expected to have taken BIOL 309.
At least 60 points from:
BIOL 354 Animal Ecophysiology
BIOL 371 Evolutionary Biology
BIOL 373 Behavioural Ecology
BIOL 374 Marine Ecosystems
BIOL 375 Freshwater Ecosystems
BIOL 377 Global Change and Biosecurity
BIOL 378 Conservation and Ecology of Populations
BIOL 379 Sustaining Native Biodiversity on Primary Production Systems