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NST IB Ecology, Evolution & Conservation

Welcome to Part IB Ecology, Evolution & Conservation

(formerly IB Ecology)

If you are interested in the theory and application of ecology and evolution - from the distribution of global biodiversity and the evolution of predator-prey behaviour, to conservation science and the ecological impacts of climate change - this is the course for you!

Taught by the Departments of Plant Sciences and Zoology, it provides a general introduction to the subject and a broad platform for more advanced studies in evolution, ecology and conservation at Part II. Ecology, Evolution and Conservation is also unique among the IB courses in giving students the opportunity to carry out, analyse and present an independent, cutting-edge research project. This is immensely popular with students and provides great training for Part II research.

To take IB Ecology, Evolution and Conservation it is not necessary for students to have attended the first year subject ‘Physiology of Organisms’, ‘Evolution and Behaviour’ or any other specified first year subjects. We ensure the course is accessible to students with little or no previous biological background - though students who have not taken biology courses previously are advised to consult their Director of Studies before the deadline to take the course.

How do I sign up?

If you are an NST student and would like to take IB Ecology, Evolution & Conservation in 2019-20, you should sign up for the course at the Senate House registration session at 11am on Wednesday 9 October.  If you are unable to attend this session then please use the online form via this link to sign up:

Once you have enrolled you will automatically be added to the course's Moodle site at the beginning of term, which contains the course handbook and other useful information. All students should please attend the welcome lecture on Monday 14 October at 2pm, in the Main Lecture Theatre, Zoology.

Course content

 For more information on next year's course, please refer to our 2019-20 Course Summary booklet.


Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 12 – 1pm, Department of Zoology

  • Michaelmas term themes: Humans and ecology; Ecological applications; Factors shaping global vegetation; Ecosytem productivity and climate change
  • Lent term themes: Biodiversity and ecosystems; The role of collections in understanding long-term change; Predators and prey; Evolutionary ecology
  • Easter term theme: Paleoecology and human migrations; Ecology synthesis*

*This two-lecture synthesis summarises the major themes and highlights connections between lecture blocks of the course, in order to aid students with their revision.

Project work

Students undertake a project based either on their field course work or organised by the Course Organiser at the start of Michaelmas term (there are consequently no practicals for this course).

Field course

The course begins with the opportunity to attend a 10-day field course starting in late June and held at Juniper Hall (near Dorking in Surrey), which introduces students to key techniques vital to fieldwork that are subsequently used for project work. Alternative arrangements can be made for students who cannot attend this field course. For more information please visit our field course page. Students will also attend short excursions throughout the year.

Course contacts

Course Organiser: Professor David Coomes

Senior Examiner: Professor Eske Willerslev

Course Administrator: George Rutherford ()

The course timetable can be seen here