At Otago we recognise that ecology is a multidisciplinary subject that crosses the boundaries between many different science subjects. As such students majoring in Ecology at the University of Otago are taught by staff based in several departments, including Botany, Marine Science, Zoology, Philosophy, and Microbiology and Immunology, and so are exposed to a range of perspectives, subjects and ideas from several disciplines while developing a broad base in ecology.
Our papers cover a range of topics including: the effects of evolution and the environment on species, intra- and interspecific interactions, threatened species conservation, and environmental issues related to sustainability. We place a strong emphasis on applied ecology; that is, those issues that relate to the conservation and management of the world's biodiversity. Many of our courses also include a substantial field component, allowing students to see ecology in action.
By combining the core Ecology papers with papers offered by other departments, our students have the opportunity to develop various specialisations or “pathways” related to their individual interests and career aspirations – for example, freshwater ecology, marine ecology, conservation ecology, molecular and evolutionary ecology, as well as paleoecology, plant-animal interactions and information systems. As a result, we produce graduates with the background and training to make significant contributions to the broad range of ecological challenges facing today's world.