Skip to main content


Ecology of Environmental Change

Module titleEcology of Environmental Change
Module codeBIO3037
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Dan Bebber ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Through this module you will get a science-based insight into the state of the Earth’s ecosystems, the pressures put on them by the continued expansion of human activities and the prospects for sustainability. The module provides you with a good preparation for future citizenship.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this module is to provide you with a better understanding of human impacts on the global environment. You will have the opportunity to evaluate the fundamental science that allows humans to understand their environment.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Assess the scientific evidence for selected aspects of environmental change
  • 2. Critically evaluate selected aspects of environmental regulation and management

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Evaluate in detail approaches to our understanding of ecology with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles
  • 4. Analyse in detail essential facts and theory in a sub-discipline of the biosciences
  • 5. Analyse and evaluate independently a range of research-informed literature and synthesise research-informed examples from the literature into written work
  • 6. With limited 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 effectively arguments, evidence and conclusions using written means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience
  • 8. Devise and sustain, with little guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with sound, convincing conclusions
  • 9. Analyse and evaluate appropriate data with very limited guidance

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Topics covered are likely to change yearly to focus on the latest developments and to reflect the expertise of visiting speakers, but coverage may include: climate change, threats to biodiversity, sustainable ecosystem services, biofuels and geoengineering.

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 Teaching14Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Journal clubs
Scheduled Learning and Teaching3Data handling guidance, practice, and assessment
Guided Independent Study128Guided reading of literature, literature research and revision


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In-lecture data handling practice tests 2 x 15 minutesAllSelf-marking and discussion in class and online model answers

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 examination602 hoursAllWritten via tutor on request
Test (to include data handling)401 hourAllWritten and oral via tutor 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
Test (to include data handling)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

  • Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Biodiversity Synthesis. World Resources Institute, Washington, DC.  (
  • IPCC, 2007: Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, Pachauri, R.K and Reisinger, A. (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland ( (See also IPCC Fifth Assessment Report: Synthesis Report due to published October 2014:

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Primary research publications and review articles.

Key words search

Earth’s ecosystems, sustainability

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BIO1336 Ecology

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date