Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website
Evolution, extinction and other principles of paleontology; fossils, paleoecology and ancient environments; New Zealand Cenozoic fossils and stratigraphy.
Evolution of NZ Biota as revealed by fossils (invertebrates, vertebrates, plants) and some living groups:
- What's distinctive about the biota from ancient Zealandia to modern NZ
- Principles and methods of paleontology, evolution and extinction and historical developments
- Paleoecology and paleoenvironments
- Biogeographic signals in the NZ biota present and past
|Paper title||Evolution of New Zealand Biota|
|Teaching period||Not offered in 2022, expected to be offered in 2023 (On campus)|
|Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD)||$1,110.75|
|International Tuition Fees||Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.|
- GEOL 251 and GEOL 252
- GEOL 272
- Schedule C
Background requirements: 100-level stratigraphy and paleontology. An interest in the modern NZ biota (plants or animals) would be a significant help, though it is not essential.
GEOL272 is for students in their second year of a geology or equivalent degree. GEOL372 is for students in their third year of a geology or equivalent degree.
- More information link
- Teaching staff
To be confirmed
- Paper Structure
The NZ biota, present and past, including:
- Physiography, climate, ocean circulation
- Biogeographic signals
Principles and methods of paleontology, including:
- Development of historical geology
- Evolution before and after Darwin, extinction
- Systematics, phylogeny, cladistics
- Structure and function
Paleoecology and paleoenvironment, including:
- Principles of ecology and paleoecology
- Environments past and present
- Fossils and sedimentology
- Taxonomic uniformitarianism - fossils and paleoenvironments
- Marine paleoecology
- Trace fossils
Biogeographic signals in the NZ biota, including some combination of:
- Beech trees
- Land mammals
- Cretaceous reptiles
- Triassic ecosystems
Assessment is approximately an even split between internal (ongoing during the semester) and external (final exam). The final examination for GEOL372 differs from that for GEOL272, to reflect greater background knowledge and higher expectations of students taking the paper at 300-level.
- Teaching Arrangements
- Two lectures and one 3-hour laboratory per week.
One-day weekend field trip to South Otago (to study Triassic-Jurassic and Paleocene fossils and strata), normally in the first or second weekend of semester;
One-day weekend field trip to South Canterbury/Waitaki Valley (paleoecology exercise), normally about mid-semester.
Text books are not required for this paper. Suggested readings will be identified in the peer-reviewed literature. You should also read relevant sections in the Encylopedia of Geology, accessible under E-journals/E-books via the Library web page.
- Graduate Attributes Emphasised
- Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research,
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
- Learning Outcomes
- Students should gain understanding of the main macrofossil groups found in New Zealand and some key modern groups and their application to biostratigraphy, paleoecology (especially depositional settings, emphasising stratigraphy and outcrop-level sedimentology), paleoclimates, and paleobiogeography (especially related to links with Gondwana and Gondwana breakup).