GV2BC-Biogeography and Conservation

Module Provider: Geography and Environmental Science
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Level:5
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Geoffrey Griffiths

Email: g.h.griffiths@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

Biogeography with its focus on the distribution of plants and animals at a range of scales, provides an important theoretical framework within which to evaluate the increasing impact of human activity upon the global biota. The module will examine principles of biogeography, including the historical development of the discipline, the rapidly evolving policy context and recent thinking and techniques in strategic conservation planning  using case studies from the UK, Europe and around the world.  In particular, students will learn about:  'valuing nature' as part of the ecosystem approach; mapping and understanding species distribution patterns using the UK National Biodiversity Network database and GIS; policy and planning in nature conservation; restoration ecology and the design of ecological networks.  The module  will appeal to students who are interested in exploring new developments in strategic conservation planning using specailsed software.  Registration for GV2GIS or good working knowledge of ArcGIS is considered a co-requesite for this module. 


Aims:

To understand human impacts on global biota via a series of linked lectures and computer-based practicals for strategic conservation planning. 


Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of this module it is expected that a student will: - Be aware of the range of ideas, techniques and philosophical debates surrounding the conservation of the world’s biota and ecosystems - Give a reasoned account of the factors that determine the distribution of species and habitats at a range of scales, from the local to the global - Recognise and evaluate the dynamic nature of ecosystems - Evaluate the degree of human impact within a policy context and understand the potential for ecosystem restoration at landscape scales - Demonstrate the importance of the Earth's ecosystems to society and to consider their prospects in a rapidly changing social and physical world - Learn about the application of spatial techniques in GIS to map, interpret and apply biological/environmental data and apply it to solve problems in nature conservation.


Additional outcomes:
Students will have the opportunity to use GIS and other software packages for practical coursework.

Outline content:

An introduction on the importance of biogeography for strategic conservation planning is followed by lectures on: species distribution patterns; valuing nature; ecological restoration; invasive species; species and habitat mapping/biological recording; policy and techniques in nature conservation. During the second part of the term  practical sessions will be used to explore the concepts and techniques of strategic conseration planning using advanced softare including, for example, GIS, Marxan and Fragstats. 


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures and practicals, including the application of software including GIS, Marxan and Fragstats for strategic conservtion planning. The focus is on problem-solving with a strong  emphasis on practical sessions requiring a committment to acquire and apply technical skills for strategic conservation planning. Students therefore, will have completed the pre-requisite module (GV2GIS) and be technically competent in Geographical Information Systems (GIS)  OR be able to demonstrate technical knowledge of  GIS. 


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 8
Practicals classes and workshops 12
Guided independent study 80
       
Total hours by term 100.00
       
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 60
Set exercise 40

Other information on summative assessment:

The module is 100 percent coursework based on, (i) a set online test (40%) and, (ii) a practical to explore the use of GIS and other software for strategic conservation planning (60%). 


Formative assessment methods:
A number of pieces of formative coursework are set, including habitat mapping from imagery, analysis of species distribution patterns etc. Feedback is provided within the class.

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 deadline. 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)
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: 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:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Resubmission of coursework in August/September

    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: 29 August 2017

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