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Ecology and Environment

Module titleEcology and Environment
Module codeBIO2076
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

In this module you will look at biodiversity and sustainability of ecological systems, including case studies on bats, bees, terrestrial and marine mammals, seaweeds and fish. It will suit you if you have interests in conservation and the environment, but it will also give you scientifically rigorous insights into the discipline. This module provides a good foundation for related third year modules.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this module is to enable you to understand some of the fundamental concepts, methods and results in the scientific study of ecology, biodiversity and the environment. The module will use examples from both terrestrial and aquatic systems. The module is a required and valuable complement to some ecology field courses within Biosciences, but it is equally suited to students not taking a field course. Set at an intermediate level, this module can prepare you to study more advanced modules in ecology and environmental change.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Discuss some fundamental concepts, methods and results in the scientific study of ecology, biodiversity and the environment
  • 2. Explain selected aspects of the ecology of terrestrial and aquatic systems

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Describe and evaluate approaches to our understanding of ecology with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles
  • 4. Describe in some detail essential facts and theory across a subdiscipline of the biosciences
  • 5. Identify critical questions from the literature and synthesise research-informed examples from the literature into written work
  • 6. With some guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis and enquiry within the biosciences

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 7. Communicate ideas, principles and theories fluently by written means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience
  • 8. Develop, with some guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with valid conclusions
  • 9. Collect and interpret appropriate data and complete research-like tasks, drawing on a range of sources, with limited guidance

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Specific topics covered are likely to change yearly to focus on the latest developments and to reflect the expertise of speakers, but coverage will include:

  • measuring patterns in biodiversity and the processes that generate them
  • behavioural ecology
  • conservation biology
  • use of predictive models in ecology
  • conservation genetics
  • global change ecology

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 Teaching15Laboratory practical
Guided Independent Study113Guided reading


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Practice essay500 wordsAllWritten

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
Essay examination601 hourAllWritten via tutor
MCQ assessment401 hourAllWritten on request


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay examinationEssay examinationAllAugust Ref/Def
MCQ assessment Essay examinationAllAugust 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

  • Begon, M, Townsend CR and Harper, JL. 2005. Ecology: From Individuals to Ecosystems, 4th Edition. Wiley Blackwell. ISBN: 978-1-405-11117-1.
  • Bowman et al. (2018) Ecology, 4th Ed. Sinauer Associates. ISBN: 9781605357973
  • Pullin, AS. (2016). Conservation Biology. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 0521644828
  • Frankham et al. (2012). Introduction to Conservation Genetics. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 9780511809002

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Ecology, biodiversity, environment, conservation

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BIO1336 Ecology or NSC1003 Foundations in Natural Science

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date