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Unit information: Ecology and Conservation in 2021/22

Unit name Ecology and Conservation
Unit code BIOL20025
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Andy Wakefield
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims


One of the biggest and most challenging problems facing biologists is the long-term conservation of biological diversity. A knowledge and understanding of ecological patterns and processes is key to understanding and tackling this problem. In this unit students will explore what we mean by biodiversity, why it is important to conserve biodiversity, and consider the main drivers of biodiversity loss. Students will then be equipped with a broad suite of ecological knowledge and skills which are useful from both pure and applied perspectives. As students progress through the main levels of ecology (individuals, populations, communities, ecosystems, biosphere), they will encounter botanical, zoological, terrestrial, and aquatic examples and consider both biotic and abiotic features of the environment. Throughout the unit students will be encouraged to use their newfound ecological insight to suggest and debate solutions to environmental challenges; great challenges require great solutions!


To provide a core understanding of ecology and how it can be used to underpin the study and application of conservation biology.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

1) Explain the causes of ecological patterns and the mechanisms underpinning ecological processes;

2) Analyse ecological data using appropriate techniques;

3) Explain why it is worth conserving biodiversity;

4) Debate solutions for conserving biodiversity;

5) Explore the inter-disciplinary nature of ecology and conservation;

6) Communicate conservation biology issues using digital media.

Teaching Information

Synchronous and asynchronous teaching resources, problem-solving activities and practical exercises, group learning and independent study.

Assessment Information

Continuous Assessment.
Two formative and one summative. One formative infographic assessing ILOs 2 and 6, and creation of two short podcasts (one formative, one summative). Podcasts will test ILOs 3, 4, 5 and 6 (40%). Students will create and submit infographics individually and podcasts in pairs.

Summative written assessment (60%) with one timed assessment to be selected from a choice of three; tests ILOs 1, 3, 4, 5.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. BIOL20025).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.