BI3EM7-Plants, Animals and Climate Change

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Level:6
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Prof Nick Battey

Email: n.h.battey@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

Aims:
The module aims to provide an understanding of the relationship between seasonal changes in climate and the activities of plants and animals. The impact of climate change on biological timing, and its monitoring and analysis via phenological networks will be studied theoretically and through practical work.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:
• Discuss the principal drivers of seasonal behaviour, particularly climate
• Describe the mechanistic basis of seasonal behaviour
• Summarize the potential and problems of phenological monitoring
• Analyse phenological data
• Discuss the interactions within and between biological communities and the impact of climate change on these

Additional outcomes:
Organise and contribute to the development of the campus phenological network.
Read selected papers and prepare a short seminar presentation on an aspect of seasonal biology and climate change.

Outline content:
• The seasonal cycle around the planet. Climate, weather, climate change
• Measuring seasonal patterns of biological activity. Phenological monitoring networks; evidence of the impact of climate change
• Mechanisms underlying the seasonal responses of animals, plants and microbes
• Community interactions and their disruption
• Phylogeny and phenology (JAH)
• Insect phenology/insect surveys (PEH)
• Modelling crops and climate (TO, AC)
• Evolution of biological timing mechanisms (RJW)

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures, seminars and practical sessions.

Lectures are of 1-2 hours with links to additional information and resources provided via Blackboard.

Seminars encourage directed individual study leading to summative written assessments and formative group presentations.

During practical sessions students work in groups to develop and critique methodology. Data collection and analysis are supported by guidance in statistical and computational methods needed for phenological study. Practical work is assessed summatively via individual reports.

A revision class (one hour) takes place in th Summer Term.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 5
Tutorials 1
Practicals classes and workshops 9
Fieldwork 9
Guided independent study 66
       
Total hours by term 99.00 1.00
       
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 20
Report 25
Oral assessment and presentation 5

Other information on summative assessment:
A written review of relevant scientific literature will be assessed, along with a group presentation. Practical work will include discusion sessions and contribute training in analysis of data and completion of the practical report.

Formative assessment methods:
Group presentation of seminar in week 5.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener 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: 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.

    Length of examination:
    A two-hour paper requiring two answers from four questions.

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

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Examination in August/September.

    Last updated: 8 October 2014

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