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MSc Species Identification and Survey Skills - Modules – University of Reading

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  • Species identification

    Invertebrate Survey & Assessment

MSc Species Identification and Survey Skills - Modules

Invertebrate Survey and Assessment

SISS - Modules - Invertebrate Survey and Assessment Many conservation organisations and consultants require people with breadth so that they can be deployed to do whatever is required at the time. Although there are fewer legislative restrictions associated with invertebrates, they can be a very useful means of assessing the general biodiversity level of a site. Legislation aside, many people are engaged with insects and their conservation and there are a number of charities specifically associated with invertebrate conservation, e.g. Butterfly Conservation, Buglife and dragonfly conservation. This module runs during the Autumn Term. Early in the term we focus on insects to allow fieldwork to be carried out during the warmer weather of late autumn before the cooler weather begins. As well as terrestrial invertebrates the various methods available to survey freshwater and marine invertebrates will be explored. More information on marine conservation issues can be found at the Marine Conservation Society.

Samples collected from the field are returned to the laboratory to develop identification skills and the application of the data to generate biodiversity and biotic indices. After completing the module students should be able to identify a variety of different invertebrate groups down to order with ease and frequently down to family. Furthermore students will know how to carry out surveys of these invertebrates under field conditions. The skills developed will be assessed through spots tests, lab book write-ups, the production of a report on the freshwater survey and identification skills gained through the marine work.

TG logoStudents frequently underestimate the significance of this module to their career prospects. Ecological consultants with a diverse range of skills are the most valuable people in the sector. To encourage students to focus on this topic we have entered into collaboration with Tyler Grange, a progressive and award-winning consultancy. Tyler Grange offers an award, including a cash prize, to the best performing SISS student on the module. In addition, students performing well are offered the opportunity to interview for placement with this prestigious organisation.

Autumn term, 10 credit module (Dr Graham Holloway) and Chris Foster (


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