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SCBB602 – Ecosystems and Conservation

Module code
Module title
Ecosystems and Conservation
The aim of this module is to teach the principles of ecology and conservation with particular reference to the unique flora and fauna of New Zealand and the skills required for field sampling and analysis. This module may underpin further studies and practical application in industry. This module is compulsory for students enrolled in the Environmental Technology Endorsement.
  • SC0901
NZQA Level
Level 6
NZQA Credits
Delivery method
  • Web-Enhanced
Learning hours
Total learning hours
Resources required
Learning Outcomes
Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module students will be able to:

1.Describe the relationship between organisms and the abiotic environment
2.Characterise the nature of diverse aquatic and terrestrial environments and evaluate their chemical and biological composition
3.Describe the origins and unique characteristics of the New Zealand flora and fauna
4.Contrast different conservation methods used in New Zealand, including traditional methods used by Mori
5.Explain biodiversity from a Mtaurangi Mori perspective
6.Undertake field sampling of animals and plants and analyse community structure
7.Employ ecosystem knowledge in an identified technological context

Characteristics and structure of populations, guilds and communities, indicator and keystone species, density-dependent and density-independent population regulators, survivorship curves, absolute and relative densities, species diversity and dominance, ecological niche, abiotic factors affecting ecosystems, major terrestrial and aquatic biomes, global climatic patterns, biological success, biogeochemical cycles, and energy flow through ecosystems.

New Zealand biogeography in relation to geological time, the unique characteristics and diverse origins of the New Zealand flora and fauna including endemic, Gondwanaland, Australian, tropical, and cosmopolitan.

Threats to New Zealand biodiversity, conservation strategies for threatened and endangered species and ecosystems, vulnerability of New Zealand species to introduced pests and weeds, importance of maintaining biodiversity, loss of biodiversity as a result of human activity. Examination of related Mori concepts and strategies including: whenua, tonga tuku iho, ahi kaa, tapu, tikanga, kaitiakitanga, and rahui. Animal and plant sampling techniques, for example leaf litter extraction, direct counting, mark and recapture, trapping, line transects, nesting quadrats. Measurement of abiotic factors at sampling sites, for example temperature, pH, humidity, light intensity, dissolved oxygen, total dissolved solids, stream velocity, water clarity, conductivity.

Practical applications of ecosystem and conservation knowledge in identified industrial contexts.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Teaching and Learning Process

A combination of integrated subjects studied through lectures, field work, laboratory exercises and problem-based exercises.
Assessment Criteria
Criteria: This is an achievement-based module in which students must gain an overall grade of 50 to pass.
Recommended Readings
Recommended Text

Smith R.L. and Smith T.M. (2003). Elements of ecology (5th ed.). Benjamin Cummings.

Recommended Reading

An extended reading list will be supplied by the lecturer at commencement of the module. This will be updated annually.

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