BIMWK2-Advanced Insect Identification

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: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Dr Amanda Callaghan


Summary module description:

To introduce students to invertebrate survey and identification skills in terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments as required by ecological consultancies, conservation organisations and the Environment Agency. For students who have already some experience in this area, it will provide them with continuity of teaching and learning in a variety of invertebrate identification, taxonomy and field based survey procedures. For students who have had little training in this area, the module will train them to identify all common invertebrate groups and in the use of identification keys. All students will develop their taxonomy skills and learn to appreciate the fine detail that is required for accurate identification. This module aims to be accessible to students from a wide variety of undergraduate degree backgrounds and to provide them with the grounding in the subject that might be required for their career development.

Assessable learning outcomes:
• Taxonomic knowledge of invertebrate groups (mostly arthropods and molluscs) down to order, family or below.
• Develop field survey skills including sea shore survey, freshwater survey, terrestrial collecting techniques.
• Overview of common biodiversity and biotic indices.
• Ability to write a short report based on independent identification work.

Additional outcomes:
• Students will develop an appreciation of the need to recognize detail for identification purposes that cuts across taxonomic groups.
• Students will improve their organisational skills and attention to detail in both identifying organisms and in reporting names correctly.
Specialist knowledge of some families of Coleoptera, Diptera, Hemiptera, Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera.

Outline content:
The module will be split into four taught blocks in the Autumn term: general terrestrial invertebrate survey techniques, freshwater techniques, surveying the sea shore and use of invertebrate keys. Each element will require field work on or beyond campus to collect material or data. In the Spring term we will concentrate on developing specialist skills in terrestrial invertebrate identification. Each student will be assessed on their ability to identify an individual box of invertebrates and key out insects under exam conditions.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Students will undertake field exercises whereby they use different methods to survey invertebrate communities. This will include the application of statistics and biodiversity indices. Students will familiarise themselves with all common invertebrate animal phyla but will concentrate on the Phyla Arthropoda and Mollusca in the Autumn term and on the Insects in the Spring term.

Each student will be given a different collection of invertebrates which have been previously identified to identify under test conditions. Students will also be tested during the term on their ability to correctly identify insects with a final spots exam at the end of the Autumn and Spring terms. Much of the emphasis of this module will be on individual study and skill development.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 6
Practicals classes and workshops 44
Guided independent study 50
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 12
Portfolio 10
Practical skills assessment 25
Class test administered by School 53

Other information on summative assessment:
•Identification of an invertebrate collection.
•Biodiversity report.
•Lab book
•Spots tests to assess general identification skills developed during the module.

Relative percentage of coursework: 100%

Formative assessment methods:

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:

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-examination in September only.

Last updated: 30 May 2014

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