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Ecology & the Environment

BIOL 111/3.0

Introduces the basic concepts of ecology and shows how they relate to environmental issues such as population growth, resource management, biodiversity, agriculture, air and water pollution, energy, and climate change, and to solutions leading to a sustainable environment.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Explain the major processes influencing biodiversity in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems;
  2. Define basic principles of ecology including population growth, ecological interactions, succession, and evolutionary change, and make predictions based on these principles;
  3. Identify current threats to the environment caused by overpopulation, habitat loss, pollution, resource consumption, and climate change;
  4. Demonstrate a basic understanding of strategies for preserving biodiversity and discuss how these relate to principles of ecology;
  5. Discuss political and economic challenges to environmental sustainability;
  6. Evaluate potential solutions using scientific reasoning and ecological principles.




Summer 18: May - July
Course Dates: 
May 7 - July 27, 2018
Exam Dates: 
July 31 - August 3, 2018


AssessmentWeighting (%)
Discussion Activities - Group20%
Discussion Activities - Individual5%
Individual Project15%
Group Project25%
Final Proctored Exam35%

** Evaluation Subject to Change **

Live Sessions

This course has optional live sessions (e.g. webinars, synchronous activities).

Final Examination

Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University. The start time may vary slightly depending on the off-campus exam centre. Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc., during the exam period.


Dr. Laura Nagel (nagell@queensu.ca)

Instructor message

I am an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Queen's University (Kingston, Canada). I have a BSc in Biology from the University of Toronto (1990) and an MSc in Zoology from the University of British Columbia.  My PhD in Biology is from Queen’s University. Postdoctoral work has been conducted at Carleton University (2008-2011), and at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (2007). I was a faculty member in the Forest Sciences Department at the University of British Columbia (1997-2000).

My research focuses on the role of natural selection during the process of adaptation in wild populations of animals. My current research model uses natural populations of Odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) and ectoparasitic aquatic mites. I use a combination of field observations, experimentation, and the use of molecular markers to address research questions.

Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments, and course activities, students can expect to spend, on average, about 8-9 hours per week on the course (108 hours per term).

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

  • Laptop or Desktop computer purchased within the last 5 years. (mobile devices are not supported)
  • Windows Vista SP2/Mac OSX 10.9 or higher
  • Up to date versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari. Please note that Google Chrome is not recommended for use in our courses.
  • Most recent version of Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash

 See also Getting Started.


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2017, Fall Term 2017 and Winter Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $666.91; for a 6.0-unit course, $1333.82. See also Tuition and Fees.

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.