BIOL112-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023

Ecology, Evolution and Conservation

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 July 2023
End Date: Sunday, 12 November 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 30 July 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 1 October 2023


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

As a student in this course, I will develop the ability to:
 Explain why evolution is the central theme of biology (assessment tasks: lab manual, midcourse test,
final exam)
 Explain the core principles and mechanisms of evolution (lab manual, midcourse test)
 Explain the key principles of genetics, including the origin, maintenance, and loss of genetic variation
(lab manual, midcourse test)
 Explain the key principles of ecology, including factors affecting the distribution and abundance of
organisms, behaviour, species interactions, and community structure (lab manual, final exam)
 Explain what conservation biology is and show how evolution and ecology underpin it (lab manual, final
 Collect, analyse and interpret biological data, in the field and laboratory (lab manual, lab report)

Transferable Skills Register / Pūkenga Ngaio
As a student in this course, I will develop the following skills:
 Synthesising information. In everyday life and in job situations you will need to read information from
different sources, construct your own understanding and explain your viewpoint. This skill will be
developed when answering the essay questions in the midcourse test and the final exam. (GP1)
 Collecting, analysing and interpreting data. Important for research, as well as in a number of privatesector
organizations. This skill will be developed when conducting lab assessments, particularly the lab
report. (GP2)
GP1 and GP2 refer to Graduate Profile attributes: (1) Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their degree; (2)
employable, innovative and enterprising; (3) biculturally competent and confident; (4) engaged with the community; and (5) globally

Timetable Note

Laboratory classes (including timetabled computer labs and tutorials): these are compulsory, and an attendance register will be kept. Labs start in the third week of semester, as shown in the timetable above. Labs are organised in streams, and you attend one stream. 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 Kim Doherty. The lab rooms vary depending on week and lab stream, see My Timetable for room details.

Lab manuals will be handed out at the beginning of the first lab (you can see a PDF copy on LEARN beforehand). Three hours are scheduled for each laboratory, but please note that some 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. Labs 1-2 are assessed in the major lab report, and labs 3-7 each end with an online quiz, which you cannot sit unless you have attended the lab (see Assessment section below and lab manual for details).

 If you are unable to attend a lab or you have missed a lab, contact Kim Doherty.
 For questions regarding the guppy lab report, contact Tammy Steeves.
 For questions regarding lab material contact the relevant lecturer.

It is compulsory to wear a lab coat and safety glasses in the laboratory.

To purchase approved safety glasses and lab coats

The collection point for purchases is inside the southern entry to the Ernest Rutherford Building, Monday to Friday between the hours 8.30 – 10.00 am and 1.30 – 3.00 pm for the first two weeks of the semester.

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.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Sara Kross


Tammy Steeves , Hazel Chapman , Steve Pawson and Sarah Wyse

Lab Coordinator

Kim Doherty

Lab Technician

Aynsley Macnab


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Final Exam 35%
Lab Report 20%
Lab quizzes 10%
Lecture Test 35%

The midcourse test covers lectures 1 – 18 (Evolution and Genetics), while the final exam covers lectures 19 – 35 (Ecology, Conservation and Ecosystems). Both will include multiple-choice, short answer, and essay questions. The number of questions per topic will be proportional to the number of lectures on that topic. Previous midcourse tests and final exams are available on Learn.

Note: Biology policy says that to pass BIOL112 you need a mark of at least 50% overall, AND at least a 40% average across the in-term work (lab report and lab quizes) AND at least a 40% average in the exams (midcourse test and final exam). See Departmental Policies below for more detail.

Textbooks / Resources

The course textbook is an open source one: ‘Biology 2e' by OpenStax.
You can use or download this free ( This same text is used in all three core biology courses (111, 112, and 113).
There is also a good commercial textbook in the UC Library you could refer to - Biology: A Global Approach, 12th Global Edition. Campbell NA, Urry LA, Cain ML, Wasserman SA, Minorsky PV and Orr RB. Pearson Education, Harlow, England, 2021.



The last course survey was in 2021. Here are the overall scores, and some points raised in it, with
our responses.
On a 1-5 scale where 1 = worst and 5 = best

1. The materials provided helped me understand what was required to succeed in the course   4.2
2. The organization in the course helped me learn    4.1
3. Couse workload was appropriate    4.2
4. Assessments were appropriate    4.2
5. Feedback on assessments was helpful    3.9

Which aspects of this course were most helpful for your learning?
 labs, lectures, passionate lecturers/helpful demonstrators/great lab coordinator, quizzes
 Really great use of real world examples in all of the areas of study to illustrate points raised

How could this course be enhanced to help your learning?
 It would be very helpful to have the grades of assignments posed onto Learn as soon as they are released. Response: We will do this from now on.
 There was a lot of conflicting information about the lab report. Response: Apologies, we have revised the lab manual and Learn site to get all the information more consistent and in one place (re word limits, due dates, referencing formats etc).

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $974.00

International fee $4,773.00

* 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

  • BIOL112-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023