Module Identifier RD16220  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Mr David R Powell  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Mr Hefin Wyn Williams, Dr Graham P Harris, Dr Peter Dennis, Dr John M Warren  
Course delivery Lecture   1 x 2 hour lecture per week  
  Lecture   2 x 1 hour lectures per week  
  Practical   5 x 3 hour practicals during semester  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Practical report book Outcomes assessed: 2, 3, 4, 5  50%
Semester Assessment1.5 Hours Written examination Outcomes assessed: 1, 2, 4  50%
Supplementary Assessment Candidates will be required to undertake work equivalent to the element(s) that led to failure, ie either assignment or examination or both.  100%

Learning outcomes

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Module Skills

Research skills Field reports are to be written up in standard scientific report format  
Information Technology Rsults for some field exercises will be collated and analysed using spreadsheets. Supplementary information for the module will be made available via the internet.  
Application of Number Field exercises will include data collection. Data will be charted, analysed and intepreted as part of the assessed practical reports.  

Reading Lists

** General Text
Chapman J L and Reiss, M J (1998) Ecology: Principles and application 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press
Fitter R, Fitter A and Blamey M (1996) Colins pocket guide: wildflowers of Britain and Northern Europe 5th. HarperCollins 0002200627
Rose, F (1984) The wildflower key: a guide to plant identification in the field, with and without flowers. Penguin 0723224196
Taylor, D T, Green N P O and Stout, G W (1997) Biological Science 1 & 2 3rd edition. Cambridge University Press Combined volume hardback and two volume softback 0521561787AND9780521561785


This module is at CQFW Level 4