BIOL112-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018

Ecology, Evolution and Conservation

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 16 July 2018
End Date: Sunday, 18 November 2018
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 27 July 2018
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 12 October 2018


An integrated course embracing the principles of ecology, behaviour, genetics, evolution and conservation biology.

In this course you will learn the basics of evolution, ecology and conservation biology.

You will see how evolution underpins both ecology and conservation and discover how these areas of biology impact every-day life.

The first part of the course has an evolution focus and we will look at both genes (micro) and species (macro) evolution.

We’ll explore human diseases, drug resistance and invasive species. We’ll also understand how fossils have contributed to our understanding of life on Earth today.

The second term has a focus on ecology and conservation, with lots of examples demonstrating how New Zealand science is saving our unique ecosystems.

Learning Outcomes

  • Intended Learning Outcomes and Associated Assessment
  • Explain why evolution is the core theme of biology (assessment tasks: lab manual, midcourse test, final exam)
  • Illustrate the basic principles of evolution, including the mechanisms of evolution (assessment tasks: lab manual, midcourse test)
  • Illustrate the basic principles of genetics, including the origin, maintenance, and loss of genetic variation (assessment tasks: lab manual, midcourse test)
  • Illustrate the basic principles of ecology, including determinants of the distribution and abundance of organisms, species interactions and food web ecology, and the determinants of community structure (assessment tasks: lab manual, final exam)
  • Illustrate the basic principles of behaviour, including proximate and ultimate causation (assessment tasks: lab manual, final exam)
  • Discuss why conservation biology is a multidisciplinary pursuit (assessment tasks: lab manual, final exam)
  • Collect, analyse and interpret biological data, both in the field and in the laboratory (assessment tasks: lab manual, lab report)

    Transferable Skills Register
    As a student in this course, I will develop the following skills:
  • Synthesising information. In everyday life and in many job situations you will be required to read information from different sources, construct your own understanding and shape your own viewpoint. This skill will be developed when answering the essay questions in the midcourse test and the final exam.
  • Collecting, analysing and interpreting data. Important for research, as well as in a number of private-sector organizations. This skill will be developed when conducting lab assessments, particularly the lab report.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Timetable Note

Labs are an integral part of the course. They are organised in streams. See My Timetable for details. Labs are held in Room 351 in the Ernest Rutherford Building, excluding the “Selection in Guppies” lab that is held in Jack Erskine 248 (Tue and Wed) and Ernest Rutherford 464 (Thu and Fri). You should have received information regarding which lab stream you have been assigned to in My Timetable. If you have not been assigned to a lab stream or you are unable to resolve a clash on My Timetable, please contact Kimberley Doherty.

Information regarding the labs including the lab schedule are provided in the lab manual. Labs will begin the third week of semester. Lab manuals will be handed out at the beginning of this lab (pdf copy also available on LEARN beforehand).
Three hours are scheduled for each laboratory but please note that they are variable in length and sometimes include fieldwork on- or off-campus. It is essential to read each week’s lab before coming to class. Although some lab work will be completed in groups, all assessment material must be completed individually. Excluding lab 1 and 2, labs will be marked at the end of each lab (see lab manual for details).

If you are unable to attend a lab or you have missed a lab, contact Kimberley Doherty. For questions regarding the lab report, contact Stephanie Galla. For questions regarding lab material contact the relevant lecturer.

It is compulsory to wear a lab coat in the laboratory and can be purchased at the beginning of the year.

Where to purchase your lab coats and safety glasses


To purchase: buy a receipt from the Copy Centre, 2nd floor, Puaka-James Hight building, (payment by eftpos and credit card only – lab coats $32, glasses $10), 9.00 am - 4.00 pm, Monday to Friday.

Receipts may then be exchanged in the atrium inside the southern entry to the Ernest Rutherford Building, 8.30 – 10 am and 1.30 – 2.30 pm, Monday to Friday for the first two weeks of the semester.

After the first two weeks they can be collected from Ernest Rutherford Room 130 (Chemical Store).

Course Coordinator

For further information see School of Biological Sciences Head of Department


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Final Exam 35%
Lab Manual 10%
Lab Report 24 Aug 2018 20%
Midcourse Test 15 Sep 2018 35%

The midcourse test is based on lectures 1 – 16 (Genetics and Evolution). The final exam is based on lectures 17 – 35 (Ecology, Behaviour and Ecosystems/Conservation). Both the midcourse test and the final exam will consist of multiple-choice, short answer, and essay questions (previous midcourse tests and final exams are available on LEARN) and the number of questions per topic will be in proportion to the number of lectures devoted to each topic.

To achieve a passing grade in BIOL112, you must attain an average score of at least 40% for in-course assessment (lab report and lab manual) and an average score at least 40% in the course exam/test (midcourse test and final exam), AND a score at least 50% overall.

Textbooks / Resources

This is the same text used for the three core biology courses (BIOL111, BIOL112, and BIOL113) and is well worth purchasing. However, should you choose not to buy it, multiple copies are on reserve in the Central Library.


Student feedback from course surveys

Course well organised: 4.3
Course stimulated my interest: 3.9
Course workload appropriate: 4.0
Course provided opportunities for active learning: 4.1
Overall, course good quality: 4.1

Course well organised: 4.3
Course stimulated my interest: 3.9
Course workload appropriate: 3.9
Course provided opportunities for active learning: 4.2
Overall, course good quality: 4.0

Course well organised: 4.2
Course stimulated my interest: 4.0
Course workload appropriate: 4.2
Course provided opportunities for active learning: 4.3
Overall, course good quality: 4.1

The following issues were raised in the online course survey completed by students at the end of the course last year. The responses were collated by the course coordinator and common responses scored. Action taken in response to feedback is indicated in CAPITALS.
Which aspects of this course were most helpful for your learning?
Labs (7), lectures (6), passionate lecturers/helpful demonstrators/great lab coordinator (11)
How could this course be enhanced to help your learning?
Marks on LEARN (Gradebook) to track progress – WE NOW PROVIDE MARKS ON LEARN.


If a laboratory is missed, arrangements should be made to make up the work at a later date.  This could involve:
(a) Attending another lab. stream later in the week after informing you laboratory supervisor (this is by far the best course of action).
(b) Consulting with the lab. supervisor to obtain data for the missed lab.
(c) Coming to another lab. stream the following week to work on the missed work while there are demonstrators around to give advice.
At the end of the year we expect data, graphs and questions to be completed for all labs.

If a laboratory assessment due date is missed due to illness, injury, personal bereavement or other critical personal circumstances, and the work can be made up by obtaining an extension, a written explanation from an appropriate person (e.g., medical doctor, counselor, minister, priest) should be given to the lab. supervisor to obtain an extension.  If those critical circumstances mean you cannot make up the work, missed the test or final exam, or you consider you have been impaired, you should apply for aegrotat consideration for the piece of assessment.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $886.00

International fee $3,809.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Biological Sciences .

All BIOL112 Occurrences

  • BIOL112-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018