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 including behaviour, evolution, physiology and increasingly, molecular biology.
In New Zealand, the study of ecology is especially important. As a small group of islands separated from larger land masses, the New Zealand flora and fauna evolved unique characteristics in the absence of mammals. The invasion of New Zealand 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 New Zealand, altering the distribution of both native and introduced organisms.
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 major in Biological Sciences you must complete the following 100-level courses:
- BIOL111 Cellular Biology and Biochemistry
- BIOL112 Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
- BIOL113 Diversity of Life
- STAT101 Statistics 1
- CHEM111 Chemical Principles and Processes
- GEOG106 Global Environmental Change
- GEOG109 Physical Geography: Earth, Ocean, Atmosphere
- GEOL111 Planet Earth: An Introduction to Geology
200-level and beyond
Students seeking an endorsement in Ecology need to take the following core courses:
At third year there is a wide range of Ecology courses to choose from. See the Regulations for this endorsement to make sure you take the courses that can be attributed.
Ecologists can take up a wide range of careers working for organisations such as the Department of Conservation, city councils, Environment Canterbury, 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 New Zealand and beyond.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Ecology.
More informationSchool of Biological Sciences
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University of Canterbury
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