BI3EB7-Forensic Zoology

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites: BI2EI4 Invertebrate Zoology
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Alejandra Perotti


Summary module description:

The module aims to link basic concepts in biological sciences, particularly in zoology, with applications in the professional field of forensic sciences that sees more and more private companies providing services requiring graduates with a broad knowledge of zoology. The intention is, to introduce students to all major sub-disciplines of forensic zoology to gain an appreciation of the current possibilities and limitations in this subject area.

Assessable learning outcomes:
It is expected that the students will be able to know the major subdisciplines within the field of forensic zoology:
Human and animal decomposition; pathology and taphonomy
Animals and animal parts as trace evidence in forensic investigations
Animals as tools for post-mortem interval estimations
Animals as evidence of animal and human neglect
Animals as offenders, animals and animal parts at national borders
Animals in warfare and bioterrorism
Animals as structural and food-borne pests and vermin

Students will learn how they can apply their knowledge of zoology to solve questions in forensic investigations.
For example, the use of arthropods in estimations of time of death, the use of animal parts and traces in investigations of illegal trade, the use of animal evidence to explain circumstances of death, etc.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:
Introduction, overview, history. The decay process, taphonomy. Forensic pathology. Forensic entomology: insect and mite life cycles, succession, arthropods in time of death determinations. Bites, poison, illegal trade in animals. Microbes and insects in personal attacks, warfare and bioterrorism. Entomotoxicology, insects and mites in cases of neglect, insect and mites as trace evidence. Biology of soil, soil mites and soil amoeba. Protists as trace evidence. Insects and mites in food spoilage and stored products. Insects as structural pests. Hair and bones. Wildlife forensics. Environmental Forensics

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module will consist of 16 lectures and 2 seminars that will inform on the latest advances in the discipline and will give the ground for the practical activities such as seminars and practicals, in which the students will interact with the lecturers and with classmates to unravel case examples. Lectures will be taught in principle by Dr M Alejandra Perotti, but recognised experts in the field of Taphonomy, Wildlife Forensics or Forensic Entomology will present specific talks.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 16
Seminars 4
Practicals classes and workshops 10
Guided independent study 70
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 60
Report 40

Other information on summative assessment:
2 Practicals are assessed (this assessment includes 1 PPT presentation) - Total coursework 40%

Formative assessment methods:
The students actively participate in the practicals and seminar, as well as during lectures. They receive direct feedback during the interaction with the lecturer and instructors in practicals (10 hours) and seminars (4 hours).

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:
    Examinations: A two-hour examination

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August/September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: In compliance with the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 1992 Act, during practical activities students will be expected to wear the following item: Lab coat.
    The Department/School can provide students with this/these at a cost of £12.00. Students who choose not to purchase from the University must ensure that their PPE meets the latest British/European Safety Standards.
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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