This module aims to provide students with an insight into key ecosystem processes, their response and adaptation to the environment, and how these may be impacted by human activities.
Module learning outcomes
Successful students will be able:
to explain how major soil processes are governed by the general soil properties and to describe the environmental functions of soil and how these may be altered by human activities
to explain the functioning of plants and microorganisms in response to their abiotic and biotic environment, and how this may be altered by human activities
to explain the diversity of microbes and their key roles in the environment
to have an awareness of current research and developments in environmental ecology
to design and undertake some fundamental soil, plant and microbial experiments, to perform data analysis of the results, to interpret and discuss the data and to write a lab report
Generic / Employability Skils:
The module provides students with fundamental knowledge on how ecosystem functioning may respond and adapt to their environment, and how this may be influenced by human activities. This will be essential for employment in many sectors such as:
Environmental consultancy and business
Lab and computer practicals will be carried out in small groups, data analysis and report writing will be done individually, while discussions on current environmental topics will be in smaller groups and the whole group, thus helping students to develop generic skills:
Group participation and management
Problem analysis and task prioritisation
Experimental design and lab analysis
Data analysis (including numeracy and statistical analysis
Feedback on the individual lab report is provided as written comments on returned work and the assessment & feedback form, and via a class feedback session providing generic information on good practice and improvement actions.
Examination scripts are made available to students and the course lecturers are available during a feedback session and upon request for one-to-one discussion. This allows identification of any points for improvement in future examinations.
Brady N.C. and Weil R.R (2002) The Nature and Properties of Soils. Prentice Hall
Fitter AH & Hay RKM (2002). Environmental Physiology of Plants, 3rd edition, Academic Press, London