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Unit information: Ecology in 2015/16

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Unit name Ecology
Unit code BIOL20012
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1B (weeks 7 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Rands
Open unit status Not open

120cps of appropriate units along with BIOL 20001 Quantitative Methods.



School/department School of Biological Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

Ecology is the study of the distribution and abundance of organisms. It operates at three main levels, the community, the population and the individual and is studied by a variety of methods from natural history and field biology, to mathematical modelling and molecular techniques. The unit will provide a direct link between the ecology currently taught in the first year (in BIOL 12000 Life Processes) and the third year (BIOL 31135 Ecology: Theory and Practice) and together they provide a logical ecological pathway through the Biology degree. A knowledge and understanding of ecological patterns and processes is key to understanding (and solving) the environmental problems such as global warming, feeding the world, energy production, the control of infectious disease and the restoration of damaged and degraded communities.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course you have an understanding of the key concepts in ecology; some of the key ecological problems facing the world; acquired knowledge of ecological patterns and processes; be able to read, understand and evaluate ecological papers from the scientific literature; gained insights into the interdisciplinary nature of ecology.

Teaching Information

3 x 1 hour weekly lectures (weeks 7-11)

3 x 3 hour lab/practicals in each of two alternate weeks (ie weeks 7 and 9 or weeks 8 and 10)

Self-directed learning week (week 12) Students are expected to spend this time on directed reading

Assessment Information

Continuous assessment 40% (three practical reports which have an equal weighting)

End of year examination (1 hour written exam) 60%.

Reading and References

Ecology, fourth edition, Begon Harper & Townsend. 2006.

Essentials of Ecology, third edition, Townsend Begon & Harper. 2009. (note that the forthcoming fourth edition will be equally useful)