BI1EC2-Ecology

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:4
Terms in which taught: Spring / Summer term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Tara Pirie

Email: t.pirie@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module provides an overview of the general principles of ecology, covering topics such as altruism and fighting through to predation and mutualisms.


Aims:

This module aims to provide the student with an understanding of the local and global patterns of the distribution and abundance of living species, and the processes that have resulted in these patterns. Students will also gain experience in practical field ecology data collection techniques.


Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, the student will be expected to be able to:




  • Describe the basics of population and community ecology.

  • Describe the fundamental interactions between species, and between species and their abiotic environment.

  • Review how an understanding of the fundamentals of ecology can be applied to questions of conservation and pest management.

  • Identify the common bird species found on campus.

  • Be able to develop a hypothesis that is able to be tested

  • Be able to collect ecological data from the field, organise and reproduce this information.

  • Be able to carry out simple statistical tests to determine whether the data supports or disproves a chosen hypothesis.

  • Be able to make deductions and arrive at conclusions from the data.


Additional outcomes:

Students will be provided with an opportunity to develop insights into field ornithology and, through this, to gain an understanding of the critical link between field taxonomy skills and field ecology.


Outline content:

In this unit, we will consider different types of interactions among species, and how an understanding of these interactions may help lead to a more scientifically based programme of conservation and pest management. Core topics include: population dynamics, herbivory, predation, parasitism, mutualisms, food web structure, biogeography, global climate change and other anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity.



During the practical sessions conducted on campus, we will consider different field techniques and how they can be applied to gather data in order to test a hypothesis.


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

There will be 20 lectures, covering the fundamentals of ecology. The practical component will be based around a series of field classes introducing students to the diversity of bird life on campus and using this to illustrate how basic field surveys are carried.


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 5
Practicals classes and workshops 20 25
Fieldwork 15
Guided independent study 60 55
       
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
       
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Written assignment including essay 15
Oral assessment and presentation 10
Class test administered by School 5

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One-and-a-half hours


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

There are three pieces of assessed work; two in the spring term and one piece in the summer term. Students will be examined on their bird identification skills (spots test) and must report the results of a bird survey and then build on this with a more detailed exposition on the biology of a named species in the spring term. 


Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall


    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-examination in August/September only


    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: 26 September 2018

    THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MODULE DESCRIPTION DOES NOT FORM ANY PART OF A STUDENT'S CONTRACT.

    Things to do now