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ZOOL318 Freshwater Ecology

Ecological interactions in inland waters with reference to management problems in New Zealand.

The health of freshwater ecosystems is of critical importance in New Zealand and globally, and an understanding of the ecology of streams, lakes and estuaries is necessary to engage with freshwater management and policy. ZOOL 318 provides a grounding in basic and applied freshwater ecology through lectures, field trips and independent research projects. Student groups carry out research projects addressing topics that include the impacts of anthropogenic stressors on stream communities, the effects of wind disturbance in lake ecosystems and the relationship between scientific and cultural measures of stream health.

Paper title Freshwater Ecology
Paper code ZOOL318
Subject Zoology
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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54 200-level points from Science Schedule C
Recommended Preparation
CHEM 191 and ECOL 111
Schedule C
Students are expected to have a basic understanding of ecological principles and statistical analysis.
Teaching staff

Convener: Professor Gerry Closs
Professor Christoph Matthaei
Dr Travis Ingram

Paper Structure
This paper introduces students to basic and applied concepts in freshwater ecology and allows them to carry out independent research. Lecture material covers physical, chemical and biological processes in freshwater and the role of freshwater species in their food web and ecosystem. Lectures also address applied topics such as impacts of land use and invasive species on freshwater ecosystems, with a focus on examples from New Zealand. Practicals consist mainly of group work in which students experience the scientific process from start to finish: designing, executing and presenting a freshwater ecology research project.
Teaching Arrangements
Lectures consist of three blocks, roughly corresponding to lake ecology, stream ecology and the management and conservation of freshwater systems.

Textbooks are not required for this paper.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • Students will gain an understanding of the principles of freshwater ecology and an ability to engage with issues in freshwater management
  • In the practicals students will gain the skills to carry out original research, including experimental design, field and lab techniques, time management, teamwork, statistical analysis and oral and written presentation of results
  • This paper will also encourage critical evaluation of the scientific literature and awareness of ethical, economic and cultural considerations relevant to scientific research

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Thursday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41
Friday 10:00-10:50 29-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Thursday 14:00-17:50 28-34, 36-41