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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