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Study information


Module titleEcology
Module codeBIO1336
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Orly Razgour (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Ecology is fundamental to understanding the interactions between organisms and their environments. In this module you will study the key concepts, knowledge and unanswered questions in the ecology of populations, communities and ecosystems. We will look at key theories, how they were tested experimentally, and how they can be applied to understand the natural world and our impact on the environment. We will consider the various approaches to ecological science, including observations, experiments and theoretical models. Wherever feasible, we will look at how a general predictive theory can emerge and how it can be applied to explain patterns and processes. In laboratory practicals, you will use key research tools in ecology and act as a professional ecologist undertaking field research. The assignment will develop your digital competency and scientific writing skills.

In order to take BIO1336 you must normally have an A Level (or equivalent) in Biology.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module aims to introduce you to key concepts and research approaches in ecology and how they can be applied to current global challenges and the conservation of biological diversity. Practical investigations will introduce you to study design, ecological data analysis, visualisation and interpretation and field skills. This module will provide you with knowledge and understanding that will enable you to take second and final year modules in organismal biology, ecology and evolution.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Outline some of the major theories that can explain the form, distribution, and abundance of organisms
  • 2. Relate ecological knowledge to the conservation of biological diversity
  • 3. Analyse and interpret ecological data

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Demonstrate knowledge of key ecological concepts
  • 5. With some guidance, deploy established ecological techniques and analysis

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Undertake digital data collection, analysis and visualisation
  • 7. Link ideas from different sources to build and appraise arguments
  • 8. Develop effective academic and scientific writing skills
  • 9. Demonstrate awareness of global environmental issues and ability to engage in ethical decision making when addressing them

Syllabus plan

Lectures will deal with various aspects of ecology, moving across scales from the individual to the ecosystem. Topics will include:

  • definition of ecology;
  • spatial ecology and biogeography;
  • behavioural and evolutionary ecology;
  • molecular ecology;
  • population ecology;
  • community ecology and species interactions;
  • ecosystem ecology;
  • conservation biology;
  • ethical ecology.

The two practical sessions will encompass a digital spatial ecology research project and an ecological field survey.

Accessibility statement:
As part of this module you will undertake sessions in the computing laboratory (of up to 80 students) that are of 3hrs in duration. Breaks are possible and students are able to leave the laboratory for short periods. The field practical will involve an outdoor biodiversity survey with walking for up to 6 hours but at a relaxed pace with frequent stops. For this practical, students should wear warm, waterproof clothing with stout footwear.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6Field practical
Scheduled Learning and Teaching3Laboratory practical
Guided Independent Study66Lecture consolidation and associated reading
Guided Independent Study53Revision and writing assignments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Multiple choice questions (provided as ELE quiz)0.5 hour1, 2, 4, 6, 9Answers provided online and discussed in class

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Practical write-up401000 words + figuresAllFeedback via ELE2
MCQ examination601 hour1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9Model answers

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Practical write-up Essay (40%)AllAugust Referral/Deferral
MCQ examinationMCQ examination (60%)1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9August Referral/Deferral

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons that are approved by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. If deferred, the format and timing of the re-assessment for each of the summative assessments is detailed in the table above ('Details of re-assessment'). The mark given for a deferred assessment will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral - if you have failed the module (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) and the module cannot be condoned, you will be required to complete a re-assessment for each of the failed components on the module. The format and timing of the re-assessment for each of the summative assessments is detailed in the table above ('Details of re-assessment'). If you pass the module following re-assessment, your module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Bowman & Hacker (2024) Ecology 6th edition. Oxford University Press

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Ecology, ecosystems, environment, global change, conservation biology

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date