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Module titleEcology
Module codeBIO1336
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr Kirsten Thompson (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Ecology is fundamental to an understanding of the interactions between organisms and their environments. In this module you will study the key concepts, knowledge and unanswered questions in the ecology of populations, communities and ecosystems. We will look at some important historical figures and their legacy. We will consider the various approaches to ecological science, including description, experiments and theoretical models. Wherever feasible, we’ll look at how a general predictive theory can emerge. In laboratory practicals, you will undertake a research project on bumble bees and act as a professional ecologist undertaking research on a campus species.

In order to take BIO1336 you must normally have an A Level (or equivalent) in Biology, but adventurous students from any other discipline (mathematics, geography, etc.) are strongly encouraged to consider this module.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module aims to introduce you to key concepts and investigative approaches in ecology. The relationship between ecology and conservation will be explored. Practical investigations will introduce basic scientific testing of ecological hypotheses, including data collection, analysis and interpretation. In particular, this module aims to provide you with knowledge and understanding that will enable you to take second and final year modules in organismal biology, ecology and evolution.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Outline some of the major theories that can explain the form, distribution, and abundance of organisms
  • 2. Begin to relate ecological knowledge to the conservation of biodiversity

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Summarise essential facts and theory in a sub-discipline of the biosciences
  • 4. With some guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis, practical investigation and enquiry within the biosciences

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. With guidance, study autonomously and undertake defined projects
  • 6. With some guidance, select and properly manage information drawn from books, journals and the internet

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Lectures will deal with various aspects of ecology, moving across scales from the individual to the ecosystem. Topics will include:

  • definition of ecology;
  • behavioural and evolutionary ecology;
  • population ecology;
  • community ecology and species interactions;
  • ecosystems and biogeography;
  • global change.

You will undertake three practical investigations:

  • spreadsheet simulation of population dynamics;
  • human simulation of competition;
  • ecology gym (exercises in data analysis).

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching9Laboratory practicals (3 x 3 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Lab-based drop-in feedback/recap/Q&A sessions (5 x 1 hour)
Guided Independent Study2Virtual learning environment tasks
Guided Independent Study67Lecture consolidation and reading
Guided Independent Study45Revision


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short answer practical write-ups2 x 3 hourAllModel answers presented online and discussed in practical sessions
Multiple choice questions (provided as virtual learning environment tasks)2 x 1 hourAllModel answers provided online and discussed in class

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
MCQ test301 hourAllModel answers
Short answer practical write-up203 hoursAllModel answers
MCQ examination501 hourAllModel answers


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
MCQ testMCQ examinationAllAugust Ref/Def
Short answer practical write-upMCQ examinationAllAugust Ref/Def
MCQ examinationMCQ xaminationAllAugust Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit a further examination. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Campbell et al. (2017) Biology, 11th Ed. Pearson. ISBN 9781292170565

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Bowman et al. (2018) Ecology, 4th Ed. Sinauer Associates. ISBN: 9781605357973

Key words search

Ecology, ecosystems, environment, global change, sustainability

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date