BI1ED2-Mammals: diversity, behaviour & conservation

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:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Phil Baker


Type of module:

Summary module description:

Through lectures, this course will provide a thorough knowledge of the evolution of and behavioural diversity within the Class Mammalia, with particular emphasis on the Order Carnivora. In addition, the course will consider issues relating to mammal conservation including the impact of invasive species, the bushmeat trade, wildlife diseases and climate change. Individual students will examine one aspect in more depth through the preparation and presentation of a scientific poster.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the course, students will be expected to be able to:
1. Define the major characteristics that define modern mammals;
2. Define the major subdivisions of the Class Mammalia;
3. Propose and defend the taxonomic status of unfamiliar or hypothetical mammal species by synthesising information on key named characteristics;
4. Describe and discuss patterns of social organisation and social behaviour within selected mammalian taxa, and how these may be modified in relation to ecological conditions;
5. Propose and defend patterns of social organisation of unfamiliar or hypothetical mammal species by comparisons with known species;
6. Compare and contrast how individuals within different social systems seek to maximise their inclusive fitness;
7. Compare and contrast patterns of communication within mammals;
8. State and discuss the current conservation status of modern mammals;
9. State and discuss current threats to named mammal species; including their relative importance;
10. State and discuss the range of conservation threats posed by mammal species;
11. Compare and contrast strategies for managing species of conservation concern;
12. Individual students will develop the ability to research a topic in detail and to design, construct and present a poster detailing the relevant information.

Additional outcomes:
1. Students will gain experience of the assessment of scientific posters.

Outline content:
A series of lectures will be used to cover topics relating to mammals including, but not confined to, their origin, diversity, patterns of social organisation, social communication, conservation status, recognised conservation threats, threats they pose to other species/communities and patterns of management. This will be supported by the use of within-class exercises.

Each student will research and present a poster on a relevant topic to the rest of the class.
Students will be expected to read papers and other literature indicated by the lecturer. Students will be advised of the appropriateness or not of web-based articles.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
There will, typically, be two 45-minute lectures each week; these will involve the use of video material where appropriate and within-class exercises. Students will acquire additional information from directed reading allied to the lecture material.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 22
Seminars 6
Guided independent study: 72
Total hours by term 28
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Written assignment including essay 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:
Examinations: A one-and-a-half hour multiple-choice examination (50 questions) (70%)

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Coursework: The poster will be assessed by the lecturer and other students enrolled in the module. The assessment of classmates' posters is compulsory; failure to attend viewing sessions without good reason will result in a penalty. Failure to complete the assessment procedures properly will also be penalised. This contributes 30% of the overall assessment for this module.

Formative assessment methods:
A series of within-class exercises will be used to help guide students throughout the module, including impromptu quizzes.

In addition, a preliminary viewing session for the poster set as the continuous assessment will be held in Week 6; at the end of this, each student submitting a draft version for preliminary assessment will receive comments on how their peers think that the poster could be improved.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

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

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Reassessment arrangements: Re-examination in August/September only.

    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: 8 April 2019


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