BI2EWEV-Biodiversity Field Course

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Alejandra Perotti


Summary module description:

Introduce the students to the extraordinary diversity of organisms, to understand diversity as a living puzzle: how so different (living) forms can interact with each other, or with the environment, and how humans impact on their habitat and environment. This is a course for those interested in whole organism biology, where plants, animals, fungi and Prokaryotes are all a functional part of the same system of study.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Fieldwork: find, collect and rear/preserve living and death organisms
Identify plants and animals to the Family level; particularly (not exclusive) within angiosperms and invertebrates. Use of catalogues and identification keys.
Observe and analyse inter-kingdom and within-kingdom biological interactions; for example, which pollinator visits a particular plant, why?; or which the particular prey of a dominant predator is; etc
Observe and analyse the behaviour of a particular species/population in situ (in its own environment); basics on experimental design
Be up to date with conservation matters on the biodiversity of varied/disparate regions.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:
This is a fieldcourse that will take place in Spain, in the coastal area of Andalucia, close to Trafalgar, in the town of Zahara de los Atunes. The course is planned for the days before the Easter vacation.
The first days will involve morning and early afternoon walks to find and sample organisms, in principle on the beach and hills surrounding the town, most of which are local natural reserves. During the afternoons-eves further identification and analysis of the material will be performed in the lab.
The following days will involve visits to other environments, such as protected parks, reached by coach trips and short fieldwork walks in the new areas. The diversity found in these parks is different to the one in Zahara. Therefore, other fauna and flora will be identified and observed.
The final 3 days of the course will be dedicated to research projects. The projects will be performed by pairs of students, and each group will give a short presentation of the outcomes of their research during the final seminar.
The students will also learn details on the local costumes as well as ancient traditions in relation to conservation of flora and fauna and the use of natural resources.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
This course involves intense fieldwork activity receiving lectures during fieldwork and in the lab. Everyday fieldwork is an active, intense practical activity.
The initial learning outcomes on practical skills on ecology and taxonomy will be assessed by a test around the middle of the course period. The research project fieldwork will be performed in the surroundings of Zahara and will be periodically supervised by the instructors/demonstrators. Each pair of students will write a report on the results and analyses of their work. The report will be presented in a 10-15 min PPT during the final seminar.

Recommended literature will be available for the students during the coursework.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 8
Seminars 8
Tutorials 2
Project Supervision 4
Practicals classes and workshops 16
Fieldwork 48
Guided independent study 14
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 30
Oral assessment and presentation 20
Practical skills assessment 50

Other information on summative assessment:
In course test 50%
Project report (including PPT presentation) 50%

Formative assessment methods:
Formative assessment forms 50% of the content, as the real summative assessment is 50% of the mark; during the field work, including the workshops, seminars, practicals, project supervision (report), etc, the students receive feedback and learn while performing the activities.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (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:
    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.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    An overall mark of 40%.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    re-submission of 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: 25 July 2017

    Things to do now