APMA90-Climate change and food systems

Module Provider: Agriculture
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: This module is not suitable for students who have previously taken AP3A90
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Jake Bishop

Email: j.bishop@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module will consider the impacts of human-induced climate change on global food systems and how these interact with other issues such as trade and sustainable development. Students in the module will learn about the global climate system, how organisms respond to climate, and about the responses of agricultural productivity to changes in climate and climate variability. The module will also help students to critique research methods and publications in the area of climate change and food production.

This module will consider how human-induced climate change may impact on global food systems. It aims to combine knowledge of the global climate system with the response of ecosystems and agricultural productivity to climate variability and change in order to provide a basis for assessing the impacts of climate change on food production within the Earth system.

Assessable learning outcomes:

# Demonstrate a broad understanding of human-induced climate change and identify aspects of climate that are important for food systems.

# Question whether or not past and present changes in managed and natural ecosystems can be attributed to climate change.

# Critically analyse methods used for understanding and predicting the impacts of climate change on agricultural productivity and independently judge the reliability of the resulting information.

# Evaluate how issues around food production and climate change are affected by other factors such as sustainable development, international trade, policy and climate change mitigation.

Additional outcomes:

The module will develop research skills in critical evaluation and synthesis of scientific literature.

Outline content:

The series of lectures will cover a range of topics including:

# An overview of human induced climate change – the climate system, causes of climate change, projections of future climate change, sources of uncertainty

# The impacts of climate and climate change on natural and agricultural ecosystems – how does climate influence the distribution of species and agricultural systems, what are the key climate factors that influence plant and animal growth

# Impacts of agriculture on climate change – how does agriculture contribute to climate change, how can this be mitigated

# A critical evaluation of research approaches used to evaluate the past, present and future impacts of climate and climate change on agricultural productivity – an overview of experimental methods from controlled environment, field, and modelling studies, how can these guide adaptation

# Exploring the wider context of agriculture and climate change, for instance the media, policy, sustainable development, population growth – the politics of communication around climate change, public understanding of climate science, what is the role of scientists in communicating climate science

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This module will use a range of methods including lectures, formative assessment, a revision seminar, and supportive material on Blackboard.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 18
Tutorials 2
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Class test administered by School 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The summative assessment will consist of a) multiple choice question tests (30%) which will be supported by formative MCQ tests, and b) a coursework assignment which will be supported by teaching throughout the module and will be used to demonstrate critical evaluation of experimental methods and understanding of the wider context in which agricultural systems operate (70%).


The summative assessment methods differ from AP3A90 in their relative weighting and in the assessment criteria for the coursework assignment which will focus upon key level 7 descriptors.

Formative assessment methods:

Multiple choice question tests on weeks when summative tests are not used.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:
Attainment of 50% mark overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
Reassessment by coursework.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 20 April 2018


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