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This module has been designed specifically for students in Environment, who enter from a broad range of disciplines and many of whom may have had little or no scientific training at advanced level. This module provides an underpinning for subsequent ecology-related modules taken in later years in Environment, as well as several of those that may be offered by the Department of Biology. Whilst the module deals specifically with concepts in mainstream ecology, these concepts are presented within an inter-disciplinary context wherever possible so that students can see the clear linkages with themes and concepts from other major disciplines and parts of their overall degree programme.
Ecology is about the dynamical changes in individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems in relation to each other and to the physical environment. An understanding of how organisms adapt and interact with each other and with their physical environment is thus crucial, as well as the behavioural and genetic basis of that change. This module provides the foundations of the genetics surrounding natural selection and the behaviour and biology of individuals and populations in relation to their biotic and abiotic environment.
Understanding the effects of humans on ecosystems requires a fundamental grounding in the nature and consequences of trophic interactions between species (food webs), the role of the abiotic environment, especially nutrient cycling, and the factors which affect stability and resilience at both small and large scales. This module addresses all of these issues in order to provide the basis for sustainable management of natural and semi-natural systems.
Successful students will gain:
1. An understanding of the basis of population growth and dynamics and the factors affecting these processes
2. An appreciation of the evolutionary, life-history and behavioural trade-offs made by organisms
3. An understanding of the basis of adaptation and evolutionary change
4. practical knowledge and understanding of the basis for and techniques for, sampling and measuring biological populations
5. an understanding of the dynamics of food webs and the forces that affect ecosystem stability
6. a knowledge of the major nutrient cycles and how they are affected by society
7. an appreciation of the factors which determine local, regional and global patterns in biological communities
8. an introduction to current approaches to conservation of biodiversity
1. A fundamental grounding in Ecological Principles
2. Field-based skills for surveying ecological communities
3. Ability to work in a group
4. Analysis of ecological data
5. Ability to write-up scientific reports
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Ecological Principles for the Environment
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Detailed written and verbal feedback will be provided on both the assessed report and an earlier formative piece of coursework. Individual feedback on exam performance will be provided at a timetabled session.
Beeby & Brennan: First Ecology - Ecological Principles and Environmental Issues 3rd edition
Begon, M. et al (1996 and many subsequent editions) Ecology. Blackwells, Oxford
Krebs, C. (2008, or earlier editions). Ecology: The Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Publisher: Benjamin Cummings
Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses
The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.
Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.