Ecology Field Course by kASYpW

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									Environmental field skills

Module Number: Part of Scientific Skills (Second Year) Spring & Summer term

Organiser: Dr Olivier Missa (om502)

Version: March 2011 for Summer 2012

Credits: 10

Subject Committee: EEB

Prerequisites: First year biology modules

Assessment:
The assessment will consist in writing a report on your small group project (3-4 students)
in the style of a scientific journal article (maximum 2500 words excluding title page,
abstract, tables, figures, legends, reference lists, appendices or acknowledgements).
(100% of mark).

Each student must write their own individual report, including production of their own
text, tables and figures, even when they have conducted the project together with other
students. The report must be submitted by Monday week 5 of the Summer term to the
Biology Undergraduate Office at 16.30 at the latest.

Summary:
Environmental field skills enables students to develop and execute an ecological
investigation. After introduction to a range of habitats students design their own small
group ecological study in one of the available sites. They then gather the appropriate data,
process the results and write a scientific report about their findings.

Aims:
    To introduce students to a range of habitats (in particular coastal, moorland,
      woodland and meadowland), to familiarise them with the key plant and animal
      species present and to show them how environmental factors act to structure the
      communities present.
    To encourage students to develop a well-defined question relating to the ecology
      of one of the habitats they have explored.
    To enable students to devise and execute a sampling programme or experiment
      that answers their question.
    To teach the students how to analyse their data and present their scientific
      findings in the form of a short scientific publication.

Learning Outcomes:
On completion of this module the students will:
   Be aware of the constraints and opportunities provided by ecological work in the
    field.
   Be introduced to a range of British habitats in the vicinity of the base, in particular
    coastal, moorland, woodland and meadowland habitats.
   Learn about the specific conservation concerns in these areas, which have wide
    applicability in the United Kingdom.
   Conduct a short project in small groups (3-4 students) in the field to learn aspects of
    experimental design and analysis in relation to field ecology.
   Develop these skills further with two class practicals on seabirds and plants in a
    calcareous meadow.
   Learn other more specific skills in relation to data gathering for the particular
    project that they conduct, which will involve species identification and field
    methodology.

SYNOPSIS
Induction (week 1)
Session of information to introduce the content and organisation of the module.

Field Excursion (week 1)
After introducing the range of possible projects that the students could be conducting, the
main field site will be visited one afternoon, so that students can choose their project and
start thinking about the design of their study.

Workshops (week 2 & 3)
One workshop will be organised each week to help students develop their ideas, research
the literature, design their study and compile the list of equipment that they will need.
Students will be encouraged to write up their introduction at this point too.

Field Course per se (week 4)
Day 1-3: Spent exclusively on the small group project (from 9am to 6pm) with some
natural history activities in the evening (of day 1 and 2 only).
Day 4: Conduct two class practicals on meadowland plants and seabird colonies.
Day 5: Analyse results from the small group project and write up the results and
discussion sections. Attend short presentations debriefing the class practicals carried out
the day before.

DEMONSTRATION INFORMATION: No demonstrator required for this module
Student Workload
Lectures: 0 Practicals: 60 Tutorials: 0
Other: seminars 2 hrs (induction to field course organisation).
Total contact hours: 62 Private study hours: 38

Recommended reading
None in particular. A selection of books (species identification, ecology and data
analysis) will be available to students during the field course.
Maximum numbers: 28 students
STAFF TEACHING COMMITMENTS: Please enter the total number of sessions attended by each staff member:
 Staff initials                   OM              PJM          PI
 Induction                        2 hours
 Field excursion                  5 hours         5 hours
 Workshop                                         2x3          2x3
                                                  hours        hours
 Field Course                     49              49           38
                                  hours           hours        hours


SAFETY AND TIMETABLING INFORMATION:                               Please fill in an entry in the table below for each teaching session in the module. Where possible
group sessions that have identical entries in all columns. A key below explains the column headings.

 Sess.                 Type          Occ      Haz.      Max.        Equipment            Lecturers                      Description
                                     .
 Induction             S 2 hrs       1        L         28                               OM
 Field Exc.            P 5 hrs       1        L         28                               OM & PJM
 Workshop              P 3 hrs       1        L         28                               PJM & PI
 Field Course          5 days        1        M         28                               OM, PJM & PI
KEY: Sess: session number or group of sessions (e.g. 6, 8-13). Type: Type & Duration; L 1 hr-lecture, P 3 hr-practical class, S 1 hr-seminar, T 1 hr tutorial.
Specify non-standard type or duration. Occ.: number of occurrences of the session (e.g. 3 occurrences, each taking one third of the class). Haz.: hazard rating:
A, low hazard, lectures, 'paper & pencil' problem sessions, etc; B, medium hazard, observational practicals where students move about but are not involved in C
category activities; C, high hazard, practicals involving potential hazard in overcrowded laboratories, e.g. naked flames, hot liquids, glassware, pipetting. Max.:
maximum number of students permitted in session, which may be less than the maximum number taking the module in, for example, a circus practical (see
maximum room capacities above). Equipment: essential equipment in limited supply: M microscopes, D dissecting microscopes, C computers, S
spectrophotometers, Ch chart recorders, H haemocytometers, Cm microcentrifuges, Cc cooled centrifuges, Cb bench centrifuges, G Gilson pipettes, specify
other items. Lecturers: the initials of the lecturers participating in the session. Description: a brief description of the session(s).

The induction needs to happen at least 1 day before the field excursion.

								
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