Module Identifier BS32110  
Academic Year 2000/2001  
Co-ordinator Dr Gareth Griffith  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff D Gwynn-Jones  
Course delivery Lecture   6 Hours 6 x 1 hour  
  Practicals / Field Days   6.5 days  
  Seminars / Tutorials   12 Hours 4 x 3 hours  
Assessment Course work   (class and individual project reports, a seminar and a herbarium collection of ferns, bryophytes and lichens) Reports and herbarium to be handed in on the last day of term 1. A seminar session will be held towards the end of the first term.   100%  
  Resit assessment   Extended essay plus viva    

Aims and objectives
The main aim of this module is to introduce students to the major ecological plant and decomposition processes within limestone communities on the Burren. The module will also address how the vegetation and soils have developed since the end of the Devensian Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago. Plant communities will be examined to see how the National Vegetation Classification (NVC) for Great Britain can be extended to define Irish plant communities. Several types of ecological succession will be investigated and models produced to show relationships between and within the various plant and decomposer communities, as well as the associated micro-environmental parameters. The ways in which modern farming methods have changed the landscape will also be considered, as will the most appropriate strategies for conserving the best examples of surviving Irish landscapes and their unique range of plant associations. A major part of the course will involve collection and analysis of field data to be incorporated in a series of assessed reports. The module is based at the University of Galway Field Centre, Carron, Co.Clare.

A major component of the module will be to investigate those factors that limit the distribution of selected higher plants, mosses and fungi. This will include the examination of microclimatic factors, substrate properties and trophic interactions. The latter will address competition in relation to competition for light, moisture and nutrients.


Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students will be able to

Reading Lists
Grime,JP, Hodgson,JG and Hunt,R. (1990) The abridged Comparative Plant Ecology. Chapman and Hall.
Kent,m and Coker,P. (1992) Vegetation Description and Analysis. Belhaven Press, London.
Nelson,EC. (1998) The Burren. Boethius Press & The Conservancy of the Burren.

Rodwell,JS (ed). (1991-9) British Plant Communities Vol.1-5. Cambridge University Press.