Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Ecology and Conservation
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Field trip report  1000 Words  50%
Semester Exam 1 Hours   Ecology and Conservation MCQ test  50%
Supplementary Assessment Field trip report  1000 Words  50%
Supplementary Exam 1 Hours   Ecology and Conservation MCQ test  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate knowledge of how ecosystems and their component parts function

Understand the ecological theory relevant to successful conservation.

Understand and recognise the need for conservation of species and habitats.

Understand the evolutionary theory relevant to successful conservation.

Develop an understanding of field surveying skills relevant to conservation

Brief description

The module is a broad and up-to-date introduction to the topic of ecology. We look at how systems work but also how species have evolved to exist within these systems. It contains both fundamental and topical elements and considers future challenges, such as responding to global climate and conserving biodiversity. We highlight how conservation has developed from a largely ad hoc series of interventions, usually of a "fire-fighting" nature, to a fully-fledged science incorporating theoretical and practical aspects of ecology and evolutionary biology. The proposed module provides students with a basic grounding in these concepts, with a constant emphasis on their practical application.


To gain an understanding of how ecosystems and their conservation


The ecosystem is the basic unit of study in ecology and many important relationships between organisms, both plants and animals, with their abiotic environment are best explored at this level. Initially, a holistic approach is adopted with an analysis of a simple ecosystem, the arctic tundra, to show how our knowledge of this system has evolved and to describe the basic relationships that exist between its various components. It is necessary, however, to place the concept of the ecosystem within the context of the ecological hierarchy, which considers ecological organisation from the individual level up to the biosphere.
A range of abiotic factors are reviewed and considered in relation to biotic factors including: herbivory, predation and competition. Predation is one factor that limits population numbers from exponential growth. Similarly, competition for resources has an equally important effect. In addition, a study of resource utilisation by species helps us to understand their position within ecological systems, generally defined as the niche. Within its distribution, however, a species will often show specific adaptation to particular situations; examples of such ecotypic variation will be discussed.
We next consider future challenges to ecosystems and biodiversity including habitat loss, responding to global climate and the need for conservation. This includes the importance of conserving biodiversity at a range of scales, from genetic diversity to biomes and ecosystems. Including ecological and evolutionary theory underpinning conservation and practical approaches to conserving species.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Co-ordinating with others Engaging with others in the field
Critical and analytical thinking Application of Number - Assessment an interpretation of data from field information
Digital capability Information Technology for research
Reflection Improving own Learning and Performance Feedback from tests used to calibrate learning skills
Subject Specific Skills Communication Good scientific communication required to document findings from field visit


This module is at CQFW Level 4