Module Identifier RD16220  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Mr David R Powell  
Semester Semester 1  
Course delivery Lecture   44 Hours  
  Practical   15 Hours 5 x 3 hours  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Practical report book  50%
Semester Assessment1.5 Hours Written examination  50%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
Outcome 1
Demonstrate an understanding of ecological concepts and the adaptations of organisms to their environment.
Performance criteria:
a. understand the concepts of evolution, populations, communities, ecosystems, habitats, niche, ecological succession, the
   cycling of matter and energy flow.
b. demonstrate an understanding of the adaptations to the environment of plants, animals and micro-organisms;
Evolution - mechanisms of inheritance, variation and natural selection.
Ecological concepts - food chains, food webs, pyramids of numbers, nutrient cycles, primary and secondary succession in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
Adaptations - terrestrial/aquatic, nutrition and feeding, reproductive strategies, population types, life cycle strategies, homeostatic control, co-ordination and movement.

Outcome 2
Identify the basic principles and practical applications of classification systems for the naming of organisms and habitats.
Performance criteria:
a. Classification systems and the nomenclature of groups of organisms and of habitats are understood
b. Use of identification keys is undertaken
Classification systems - Binomial systems, Phase 1, NVC
Identification keys - dichotomous

Outcome 3
Identify the development and characteristics of habitats
Performance criteria:
a. A range of terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats are described.
b. The geographical distribution and historical development of habitats in relation to land use, abiotic and biotic factors are
   accounted for.
Habitats - a selection of UK habitats from coastal, upland, heathland, grassland, marine, woodland, urban, wetland, freshwater.

Outcome 4
Demonstrate an understanding of practical ecological techniques.
Performance criteria:
a. a range of abiotic factors are measured in the field
b. Sampling methods for recording the distribution and abundance of a range of organisms are understood and performed in
   selected habitats.
Habitats - a selection of UK habitats from coastal, upland, heathland, grassland, marine, woodland, wetland, freshwater
Abiotic Factors - to include climatic, edaphic, topographic, nutrients, oxygen.
Sampling - random, systematic, stratified random, counts, percentage cover, frequency of occurrence.

Outcome 5
Produce scientific reports of field visits
Performance criteria:
a. Field data is presented in an appropriate manner.
b. Field data is analysed and interpreted in relation to basic ecological principles.
Field data: Tables, graphs, charts. Numerical analysis. Scientific format. Discussion. Conclusions.

Brief description

The module will provide, through a range of lectures, practicals and field visits, an introduction to the basic biological and ecological processes and principles operating in a range of British habitats. The fundamental scientific principles underlying biological systems will be outlined, and the basic skills of classification of organisms and habitats introduced. Practical application of field and laboratory techniques will help develop an understanding of the concepts of niche, habitats, populations and communities that will provide a foundation for the study of a variety of important British habitats. Particular attention will be paid to the role of humans in the development and management of these key habitats.

Transferable skills

.1 Independent project work
Preparation of practical report book.

.2 IT and information handling
Results for some field exercises will be collated using spreadsheets.
Supplementary information for the module will be made available via the internet.
Assessed - Common Skill Outcome 12

.3 Use and analysis of numerical information
Field exercises will comprise data collection using a variety of techniques. Data will be charted, analysed and interpreted as part of the assessed field reports.
Assessed - Common Skill Outcomes 9 and 15

.4 Writing in an academic context
Field reports are to be written up in standard scientific report format.
Assessed - Common Skill Outcome 10

.7 Self-management
Production of practical report book will require good self-management

Reading Lists

Chapman J L and Reiss, M J (1998) Ecology: Principles and application 2nd. Cambridge University Press
Clegg, C J and McKean, D G (2000) Advanced Biology: Principles and applications 2nd. John Murray
Fitter R, Fitter A and Blamey M (1996) Colins pocket guide: wildflowers of Britain and Northern Europe 5th. HarperCollins
Rose, F (1991) The wildflower key, British Isles and North West Europe: A guide to plant identification in the field, with and without flowers Penguin
Taylor, D T, Green N P O and Stout, G W (1997) Biological Science 1 & 2 3rd. Cambridge University Press


This module is at CQFW Level 4