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Islands and Climate Change

Module titleIslands and Climate Change
Module codeJBIM008
Academic year2020/1
Module staff
Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The module will start with an introduction of fundamentals of climatology and climate change and then apply this general knowledge to the specific situation of island climates at different latitudes and in different climatic regions. Based on an understanding of island climates and how they might be affected by climate change, we will review the impacts of climate change on terrestrial island biodiversity. We will discuss both direct effects (e.g. changing precipitation patterns) and indirect effects (e.g. displacement of human settlements into biodiversity areas due to sea level rise) on island biodiversity. A special focus will be on understanding the different types of evidence that are used to predict climate change and its effects on biodiversity (statistical modelling, simulation models, meta-analysis of observational data, experimental approaches).

Module aims - intentions of the module

You will achieve a solid general understanding of climatology and climate change. You will have a good overview of the potential effects of climate change on terrestrial island biodiversity and understand the relative importance of different climate change effects. You will be able to explain and defend in a policy context or towards the general public the scientific evidence that support predictions of climate change and its effects on biodiversity.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Demonstrate scientific competence and function effectively within the social and political context that conservationist face, particularly matter relating to climate change
  • 2. Analyse data and use scientific information in addressing climate change

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Use predictive models for projecting population sizes into the future and estimate their viability
  • 4. Catalogue and evaluate the status of climate change of a given island or archipelago

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 5. Apply statistical and modelling skills to understand and interrupt quantitative analysis
  • 6. Transfer techniques and solutions from one discipline to another

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that they syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Fundamentals of climatology (Introduction to climatology, seasonality and weather, solar radiation and energy budget, hydrological cycles, climate zones and climates of the world including for instance Monsoon and Mediterranean climate, biosphere – climate feedbacks, climate change in geological and historical times)
  • Fundamentals of climate change (greenhouse effect and greenhouse gases, climate models and scenarios, climate change predictions, evidence of ongoing climate change, irreversibility and thresholds, IPCC, denialism)
  • Evidence of climate change effects on biodiversity (observed trends, experimental studies, past climate change, species distribution modelling)
  • Island climates (e.g. oceanic climate, orographic effects)
  • Evidence and predictions of climate change effects on island biodiversity (with a focus on specific challenges of islands, e.g. spread of diseases and invasive species)
  • Adaptation and mitigation strategies on islands

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 Teaching30Lectures – class based activities and lectures
Guided Independent Study60Pre-reading for lectures – accessible via UoE VLE
Guided Independent Study60Writing up and finishing assessment(s)


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
Essay252000 words1,4,6-7Written
Written examination752 hours2-3,5Written


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1,4,6-7Four weeks from the date feedback was given
Written examinationWritten examination2-3,5Four weeks from the date feedback was given

Re-assessment notes

Two assessments are required for this module. In all cases re-assessment will be the same as the original assessment. Where you have been referred/deferred for any form of assessment detailed above you will have the opportunity to retake within the period specified above from the date that feedback was provided.

If you pass re-assessments taken as a result of deferral, your re-assessment will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment and the overall module mark will not be capped.

If you pass re-assessments taken as a result of referral (i.e. following initial failure in the assessment), the overall module mark will be capped at 50%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Textbook(s) on climatology and climate change depending on availability as eBook from University of Exeter library services.
  • IPCC reports
  • Weigelt, P., W. Jetz, and H. Kreft. 2013. Bioclimatic and physical characterization of the world’s islands. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 110:15307–15312.
  • Harter, David E. V., Severin D. H. Irl, and Bumsuk Seoc, et al. 2015. Impacts of global climate change on the floras of oceanic islands: Projections, implications and current knowledge. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 17(2): 160–183.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • Information on the climates and climate change threats of the specific islands from which the participating students originate

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Islands, climate change

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date