Skip to main content


Introduction to Ecological Consultancy

Module titleIntroduction to Ecological Consultancy
Module codeBIO2425
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Kelly Moyes (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Ecological consultants advise developers on wildlife and conservation issues. This is therefore a fantastic career path for students with an interest in wildlife and the outdoors. In this module, you will be given an overview of the key techniques and processes that are involved in a career in terrestrial ecological consultancy. You will learn about protected species legislation in the UK and gain an understanding of the ecology and survey methodology of key protected species (including bats, otters, badgers, reptiles, dormice, water voles and great crested newts). The module will also cover Phase 1 habitat surveys and desk studies, and provide an opportunity to develop UK field identification skills.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module deals with the key issues and techniques involved in terrestrial ecological consultancy; it is therefore excellent preparation for those who intend to pursue a career in this sector or those who would like to understand more about the kind of work this entails. Although focused on the skills needed for an ecological consultancy career, the module would be beneficial for anyone considering a career in UK conservation. The module will give you an overview of protected species legislation in the UK and outline the ecology and survey methodology of key protected species (including bats, otters, badgers, dormice, water voles and great crested newt). The module also aims to provide experience of conducting Ecological Appraisals. Parts of this module will be conducted in the field, so you may wish to consider the physical demands of these aspects of the module before embarking on it.

The module deals with real world problems in terms of understanding how to balance development and conservation. Some examples of research are explored regarding methods of mitigation and enhancement of sites. You will carry out your own research on an example proposal site.  Although students from other EU nations and overseas will find this a useful module, it should be noted that it focuses on the sector within the UK. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Describe the role of ecological consultancy, use the environmental impact assessment process and apply the techniques most widely used within the arena in the UK
  • 2. Illustrate the skills necessary to gain employment in this sector

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Describe in some detail essential facts and theory across a sub-discipline of biosciences
  • 4. Exhibit self-direction in advancing knowledge and understanding and in developing new skills to a high level
  • 5. Identify and implement, with guidance, appropriate methodologies and theories for addressing specific problems in biosciences
  • 6. With some guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis, practical investigation, and enquiry within biosciences
  • 7. Apply originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 8. Develop, with some guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with valid conclusions
  • 9. Communicate ideas, principles and theories fluently using a variety of formats in a manner appropriate to the intended audience
  • 10. Collect and interpret appropriate data, drawing on a range of sources, with limited guidance
  • 11. Evaluate own strengths and weaknesses in relation to professional and practical skills, and apply own evaluation criteria
  • 12. Reflect effectively on learning experiences and summarise personal achievements

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Lectures and field trips will cover the following key areas:

  • Overview of ecological consultancy
  • UK protected species legislation
  • Extended Phase 1 habitat survey
  • Badger ecology and survey methods
  • Otter ecology and survey methods
  • Dormouse ecology and survey methods
  • Bat ecology and survey methods
  • Water vole ecology and survey methods
  • Great crested newt ecology and survey methods
  • Invasive species
  • Basic botany
  • Reptile ecology and survey methods
  • Desk studies and report writing

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
Student learning and teaching activities12Lectures will introduce and deliver a fundamental conceptual organisation and factual basis for the module. Lectures include material giving an overview of consultancy and the ecology of and survey methods used for protected species (including water voles, great crested newts, dormouse, otters and bats).
Student learning and teaching activities9Practical sessions will enable you to undertake surveys and to practice your field identification skills
Student learning and teaching activities2Workshops to provide feedback on formative assessment
Guided independent study127Additional reading, research and preparation for module assessments


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short answer questions during the lectures and practical sessionsOngoing throughout the moduleAllOral
Practice reports, providing formative assessment through peer and module convenor discussion in workshop2 hours for each1-10Oral
Online MCQ15 questions2-10Automated online feedback

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
Ecological Appraisal652000 words plus map and species list1-10Written
Recommendations report for a client351000 words1-10Written


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Ecological AppraisalEcological Appraisal1-10August assessment period
Recommendations report for a clientRecommendations report for a client1-10August assessment period

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 complete a further Ecological Appraisal. 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

  • Handbook for Phase 1 habitat Survey – A technique for environmental audit (2010). Joint Nature Conservation Committee, JNCC:
  • Sutherland W. J. (2006) Ecological Census Techniques: A handbook. University of Cambridge Press.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Ecological consultancy, biodiversity, protected species, legislation, habitat surveys, development, mitigation

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date