AP2A57-Methods in Ecology and Environmental Management

Module Provider: Agriculture
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn and Spring
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2012/3

Module Convenor: Dr Simon Mortimer

Email: s.r.mortimer@reading.ac.uk

The module aims to develop students’ scientific skills through practical experience of methods used in ecology and environmental management. It covers the stages of the scientific method: literature review, hypothesis generation, experimental design, sampling methodologies, data collection, data presentation, statistical analysis, and report writing. It also introduces students to a range of field survey methods and the use of Geographical Information Systems for habitat mapping. The module also aims introduce students to a range of organisations working to manage or conserve the environment.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students will be able to:
- Design and undertake ecological field experiments and monitoring in the natural environment
- Conduct field and laboratory work in a professional and safe manner
- Collate and statistically analyse a range of types of environmental data.
- Use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to map habitats and linear features using aerial photograph interpretation
- Summarise and effectively communicate the results and conclusions of research
- Describe the function of a number of environmentally oriented research organisations and the type of work they undertake

Additional outcomes:
Students develop their teamwork skills as they work together on a group experimental field project spanning the autumn and spring terms. The module is designed to deliver the skills necessary to undertake independent scientific research, whether through experimentation or survey approaches.

Outline content:
- The scientific method, the nature of data, and experimental design
- Reading and interpreting scientific literature
- Group work to design and undertake an ecological field experiment
- Laboratory work to identify and process field samples
- Biodiversity and habitat survey methodologies (bird census techniques, hedgerow habitat condition assessment, river corridor survey)
- Use of GIS for habitat mapping and survey design
- Data presentation and the principles of statistical analysis
- Presenting scientific findings (report writing, presentations)
- Field visits to environmental organisations (River Restoration Trust, National Trust, Linking Environment and Farming demonstration farm)

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module uses a variety of teaching methods including lectures, seminars, computer practicals, laboratory practicals and field visits. Students will work in small groups and encouraged to design and evaluate their own experiments and surveys with help from tutors.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 4 4
Seminars 2
Practicals classes and workshops 10 10
Fieldwork 7 12
External visits 4 4
Guided independent study 73 70
Total hours by term 100 100 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:

Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 40
Report 40
Oral assessment and presentation 10
Practical skills assessment 10

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy.
The following penalties will be applied to coursework which is submitted after the deadline for submission:

  • 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;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadine. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.
    (Please refer to the Undergraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guideUG.aspx)

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August/September

    Last updated: 7 May 2012

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