Module Identifier BS32110  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Dr Gareth W Griffith  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Dr Jan Martin, Dr Dylan G Jones  
Course delivery Practical   6 x 4 hour practicals  
  Lecture   6 Hours. 6 x 1 hour  
  Practical   Field Days. 6 full days  
  Seminars / Tutorials   4 Hours. 1 x 4 hours  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Course Work: (class and individual project reports, field notebook assessment and a herbarium collection of bryophytes and lichen). Project report to be handed in at the start of semester 1 followed by a seminar session. 100%
Supplementary Assessment Extended essay plus viva  100%

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module students will be able to


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 Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago. Plant and animal 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 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 Burren Outdoor Education Centre, Turlough, Co. Clare.

A major component of the module will be to investigate those factors that limit the distribution of selected higher plants, animals, mosses, lichens 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.


a) limestone communities;
b) hazelwood communities;   
c) calcareous grassland, heath, turlough and mire communities;

Reading Lists

** General Text
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.
Smith, S. E. (1997.) Mycorrhizal symbiosis /Sally E. Smith and David J. Read. 0126528403


This module is at CQFW Level 6