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 introductory biology and natural history course presented within an evolutionary framework that investigates the diversity of animal life, human-animal interactions, nutrient and energy flows, conservation and sustainability. This course places emphasis on wild animals and ecological processes operating within New Zealand and globally.
199.203 Evolutionary Principles of Animal Behaviour15 credits
This course explores how genetics and the environment shape the evolution of animal behaviour and inter- and intraspecific interactions. Practice sessions develop skills on the description, quantification, comparison and statistical analysis of animal behaviour using a variety of animals (vertebrate and invertebrate, wild and domestic). The use of scientific writing to communicate research findings is emphasised.
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 diversity, anatomy, feeding, ecology and reproduction. Practical work focuses on identifying invertebrates, their morphology, 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.
An exploration of invertebrate diversity, ecology and evolution. Students will examine the major groups of invertebrates and learn about the relationships between form and function in their environment. Laboratory work will focus on developing practical abilities including collection, dissection, identification of invertebrates and research skills.
Insect diversity, anatomy, physiology, behaviour, plant-insect relationships, biosecurity, and integrated pest management in agriculture, horticulture and forestry. Insect identification and curation skills are taught in the laboratories. An insect 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, parental care, cooperation and communication.
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.
An in-depth course in experimental zoology. Students will study the principles of experimental design, critical thinking and analysis in zoological sciences. Practical work will emphasise collection and interpretation of behavioural and ecological data using invertebrate model systems.
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.