Ecology and the Environment - Online biology courses | Arts and Science ONLINE

Ecology & the Environment

Trees near a body of water
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.

Please note: This course is typically offered in the summer term - every other year 

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be better equipped to:

  1. Describe the principal processes that sustain the planetary life support system
  2. Predict most likely future trends of current environmental problems and formulate potential solutions
  3. Describe the earth’s renewable and non-renewable resources, their current status, the factors that influence them and explain how humans can use them in more sustainable ways
  4.  Develop personal and interpersonal capacities in environmental studies: Collaboration, communication, ethical reasoning, and metacognitive skills
  5. Perform research related to environmental studies, write reports, and disseminate results to a general audience


  • Module 1: Introduction to Environmental Science
  • Module 2: Ecosystems and Food Webs
  • Module 3: Evolution and Biodiversity
  • Module 4: Strategies for Sustaining Biodiversity
  • Module 5: Population Control, the Human Population and its Impact
  • Module 6: Strategies for Sustaining Terrestrial Biodiversity
  • Module 7: Strategies for Sustaining Aquatic Biodiversity
  • Module 8: Renewable and Non-renewable Energy
  • Module 9: Air and Water Pollution
  • Module 10: Climate Disruption and Ozone Depletion
  • Module 11: Social, Economic and Political Issues


BIOL 111 introduces the basic concepts of ecology and demonstrates how these relate to topics such as human population growth, resource management, biodiversity, agriculture, air and water pollution, energy use and climate change.  It is designed for students from a variety of backgrounds at all levels of post-secondary education and is recommended as a foundation course for students with an interest in ecology and the environment.

This course will expose students to the latest literature on ecology and the environment. The textbook is a solid introduction to the basic concepts in ecology and environmental science and will enable students to tackle more advanced readings in the scientific literature as well as in popular media.  It is divided into a series of topics that correspond to the modules of the course. Students will consider the social, political and economic challenges to environmental sustainability as they progress through the course.


Summer 22: May-July
Course Dates: 
May 9 - July 29, 2022
Exam Dates: 


15% - Tests(3)
20% - Extinction Data Collection (Individual)
15% - Game-Based Learning (Group)
15% - Debate/Controversial Issues - OR - Greenwashing (Individual with Interaction)
20% - Multimedia Presentation (Individual)
15% - Reflection (Individual)

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

Live Sessions

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


Dr. Laura Nagel (

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

Students can expect to spend approximately 9 hours a week (120 hours per term) in study, listening and online activity for this course.

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:

Computer Specifications

  • Windows 8.1 or newer
  • OSX 10.13 (High Sierra) or newer
  • Dual Core 2 GHz processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Soundcard
  • USB Headset
  • Webcam

Supported Browsers

  • Chrome (preferred - latest version)
  • Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ
  • Edge is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ

Internet Connection

  • Wired high speed access: Cable or better
  • Wifi is not recommended


  • Latest version

Media Player

  • Flash (latest version)

Adobe Reader

  • Latest Version


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 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 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.