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Ecosystem Processes - ENV00024I

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  • Department: Environment and Geography
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Sylvia Toet
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2022-23 to Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

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
  • Government
  • Nongovernmental organisations
  • Environmental research

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
  • Time management
  • People skills
  • Experimental design and lab analysis
  • Data analysis (including numeracy and statistical analysis
  • Writing of scientific reports
  • Verbal communication


Task Length % of module mark
Lab Report
N/A 50
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Ecosystem Processes Open Exam
8 hours 50

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Reassessment Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

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.

Indicative reading

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

Madigan MT, Brock TD (2008). Brock biology of microorganisms, 12th edition, Addison-Wesley

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.