Centre for Biological Sciences

BIOL3009 Applied ecology

Module Overview

This module on applied ecology, focuses on major topical issues of the day (e.g. GM crops, Food security, Ecosystem services). The major part of the module is concerned with management of land, especially in relation to food production. There is particular emphasis on sustainable intensification of agriculture and how best to use the ideas from ecosystem services to manage land for multiple users. This section concludes with an extended series of lectures, debates and videos addressing the potential risks and benefits associated with genetically modified organisms. The remainder of the module examines issues such as the ecological consequences of overfishing and the emerging ideas of land sharing versus land sparing for biodiversity and food security. This module is particular relevant to those students interested in applied ecological and environmental issues, and to those interested in some of the conflicts between science and society.

Module Details

Title: Applied ecology
Code: BIOL3009
Year: 3
Semester: 1

CATS points: 15 ECTS points: 7.5
Level: Undergraduate
Co-ordinator(s): Dr Jake L Snaddon

Pre-requisites and / or co-requisites

ModuleCodeYear
Ecology and EvolutionBIOL10031
Pure and applied population ecologyBIOL20042

Aims and objectives

Aims:

  1. To extend the knowledge of ecology and population biology taught in first, second and third year modules to cover the application of these disciplines to solving ecological problems, such as managing pests or genetically modified organisms and the problems associated with climate change.
  2. To provide a coherent summary of the issues relating to managing land for food security
  3. To examine the use of ecosystem services and toolkits for managing land for multiple users.
  4. To examine the ecological impacts of managing ocean fisheries
  5. To provide examples of the applications of theoretical ecology to topical ecological issues
  6. To provide a summary of factors influencing how the land is managed, especially in terms of food production

Learning Outcomes:

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

  1. Describe the major issues relating to land use management for multiple ecosystem services.
  2. Give a reasoned argument for or against genetically modified organisms.
  3. Understand issues relating to land and ocean management in terms of sustainable food production

Syllabus

A module in applied ecology, focusing on major topical issues of the day (e.g. GM crops, Food security, Ecosystem services). The major part of the module is concerned with management of land, especially in relation to food production. There is particular emphasis on sustainable intensification of agriculture and how best to use the ideas from ecosystem services to manage land for multiple users. This section concludes with an extended series of lectures, debates and videos addressing the potential risks and benefits associated with genetically modified organisms. The remainder of the module examines issues such as the ecological consequences of overfishing and the emerging ideas of land sharing versus land sparing for biodiversity and food security. This module is particular relevant to those students interested in applied ecological and environmental issues, and to those interested in some of the conflicts between science and society.

The module is supported by seminars on related topics of interest, some of which will be given by outside speakers and by researchers talking about their areas of particular expertise.

Method of assessment: Examination and coursework

Learning and teaching

Study time allocation

Contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study time: 150 hours

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, seminars, debates, videos with guest speakers and independent study.

Assessment

Assessment methods

Assessment Method Summative / Formative % contribution to final mark  Final element of assessment (√) 
Written examination: comprises one 2-hour paper requiring two questions to be answered from a choice of five. Summative 75%
Coursework essay Summative 12.5%  
Poster presentation Summative 12.5%  
Re-assessment Method
Include duration of exams, whether the assessment is formative or summative and whether there are any elements that must be passed for successful completion of the module.
Summative / Formative % contribution to final mark Final element of assessment (√)
Written examination: comprises one 2-hour paper requiring two questions to be answered from a choice of five. Summative 75%
Coursework essay: marks carried forward Summative  12.5%  
Poster presentation: marks carried forward Summative 12.5%