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OUASSA Zoology projects

What is Zoology?

Zoology is the study of animals, their behaviours, their physiology and evolution, as well as their interactions with each other and with their environment.

Zoologists study how animals evolved and the impact of environmental change on their survival. They search for ways to manage wildlife populations, and to conserve rare and endangered species.

January Summer Science Camp

The invaders are here!

The urban invader! During this project you will explore techniques for monitoring the geographic range and density of a highly successful urban invader. This will include a demonstration of live trapping and the collection and analysis of wax bait stations.

You will also investigate anatomical and physiological characters that aid in its success and you will evaluate these characteristics as targets for control and management programmes.

Finally you will be assessing various strategies for controlling population growth of this urban invader.

July Winter Science Camp

Sea lion Science: The challenges of researching and managing a ‘nationally critical’ native treasure.

The New Zealand (Hooker’s) Sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri) known to local Māori as whakahao is endemic to New Zealand waters. The species is now classified internationally as endangered. Over 95% of them breed at just a few sites around the sub-Antarctic Auckland and Campbell Islands, where pup numbers have declined by over 50% in the last 15 years. A small population on Campbell Island is increasing slowly and breeding has begun again on Stewart Island in the last few years.

Evidence from Māori midden sites has revealed that New Zealand Sea lions previously bred at several sites on both the North and South Island but hunting by Māori and later European sealers drove them from mainland shores. Breeding began again on the mainland in 1993, on the Otago Peninsula.

In this project we will explore the biology of the New Zealand Sea lion, learn how to analyse sea lion regurgitation and/or scat to see what they have been eating and explore how science is trying to unravel the reasons for the rapid decline in pup numbers in their sub-Antarctic colonies in recent years.

We will also explore the public’s perception of the return to mainland beaches of a species of large mammal which, although regarded by many as big and beautiful, can also be bold and boisterous.

Day 1 of this project is a field trip to view sea lions on the Otago Peninsula. Hopefully we will have a fine day but winter on the Otago Peninsula can be bitterly cold. Warm clothing, a wind/water proof jacket, and sturdy footwear is essential. A hat and gloves are also strongly recommended.

More information about Zoology at Otago

Download the Zoology (PDF, 150 KB) infosheet for more information about:

  • Suggested background
  • Careers in Zoology
  • Degree programme
  • Teaching style
  • Postgraduate study

For further information visit the Department of Zoology website.