The University of Southampton
Courses

ENVS1007 Environmenal Field Techniques and Applications

Module Overview

This module is designed to provide you with hands on experience of a wide range of contemporary environmental issues and techniques. Based in Exeter, this week long field course is divided into two main components. During the first part of the week you will learn key field based techniques, including; environmental observation and evaluation, field-based species identification, quantitative and qualitative ecological surveys, and morphometric surveying. This work is complemented by talks and tours of relevant field sites. During the second part of the week you will undertake a research project in small groups. Usually topics draw on the techniques learned earlier in the week or as part of ENVS1006.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This module aims to provide experience in a wide range of practical Environmental Science field techniques and develop field-based transferable skills (such as teamwork and time / project management) and other related skills (such statistical analysis and scientific report writing).

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The need for both a multi-disciplinary and an interdisciplinary approach in advancing knowledge and understanding of Earth systems, drawing, as appropriate, from the natural and the social sciences
  • The processes which shape the natural world at different temporal and spatial scales and their influence on and by human activities
  • The terminology, nomenclature and classification systems used in environmental science
  • Methods of acquiring, interpreting and analysing environmental science information with a critical understanding of the appropriate contexts for their use
  • Issues concerning the availability and sustainability of resources, for example, the different value sets relating to the Earth's resources as commodities and/or heritage
  • The contribution of environmental science to debate on environmental issues and how knowledge of these forms the basis for informed concern about the Earth and its people
  • The contribution of environmental science to the development of knowledge of the world we live in
  • The applicability of environmental science to the world of work
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Receiving and responding to a variety of information sources (e.g. textual, numerical, verbal, graphical)
  • Developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (e.g. working independently, time management and organisation skills)
  • Identifying and working towards targets for personal, academic and career development
  • Developing an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work
  • Communicating appropriately to a variety of audiences in written, verbal and graphical forms
  • Appreciating issues of sample selection, accuracy, precision and uncertainty during collection, recording and analysis of data in the field and laboratory
  • Preparing, processing, interpreting and presenting data, using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques and packages including geographic information systems
  • Solving numerical problems using computer and non-computer-based techniques
  • Using the internet critically as a means of communication and a source of information
  • Identifying individual and collective goals and responsibilities and performing in a manner appropriate to these roles
  • Recognising and respecting the views and opinions of other team members
  • Evaluating performance as an individual and a team member
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Planning, conducting, and reporting on environmental investigations, including the use of secondary data
  • Collecting, recording and analysing data using appropriate techniques in the field and laboratory
  • Undertaking field and laboratory investigations in a responsible and safe manner, paying due attention to risk assessment, rights of access, relevant health and safety regulations, and sensitivity to the impact of investigations on the environment and stakeholders
  • Referencing work in an appropriate manner
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Recognising and using subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts and principles
  • Analysing, synthesising and summarising information critically, including prior research
  • Collecting and integrating several lines of evidence to formulate and test hypotheses
  • Applying knowledge and understanding to complex and multidimensional problems in familiar and unfamiliar contexts
  • Recognising the moral and ethical issues of investigations and appreciating the need for professional codes of conduct

Syllabus

Advance Sessions Session Topic 1 Initial briefing 2 Safety & Risk Assessment 3 Project design & report writing Field course (typical – precise schedule is tide dependent) Day Topic 1 Team skills 2 Intertidal ecology, palaeontology, marine chemistry, pollution management (oil spills) 3 River survey and management, invertebrate taxonomy, upland landscape ecology and management 4 Coastal management, climate change, conservation management, field survey 5-6 Project management, field data collection, data handling and analysis 7 Review and feedback After field course Feedback on field report. Summary of syllabus content. The module comprises a field course, with supporting briefings and lectures, which provides "hands on" experience of a wide variety of environmental issues and techniques and training in project design, project management, data collection, data analysis and presentation. In addition specific training is given in team work via a dedicated session. A broad range of topics is covered, including ecology, aquatic chemistry, physical geography (including management of rivers and coasts), ocean and earth science, and the human impacts on the natural environment. The lecture programme is intended to complement the field based material providing additional context and giving opportunities for analysis and reflection.

Special Features

For students with specials needs, an individual assessment with be made and appropriate arrangements made to ensure they are enabled to benefit from the exercise or an equivalent experience.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods The majority of unit will be delivered in the field, supported by on site briefings and lecture presentations at the residential site. These will be supported by advance lecture sessions. Teaching and supervision will be delivered by the course coordinator and by contributors from CMEES. Learning activities • Attendance at lectures • Field practical with supporting laboratory work • Field case study seminars, role playing exercises and team building training • Self-directed learning - supplementary and complementary taught and practical materials. • Private study – research for and preparation of module assignment.

TypeHours
Completion of assessment task20
Preparation for scheduled sessions20
Revision10
Lecture4
Fieldwork38
Project supervision6
Follow-up work20
Tutorial12
Wider reading or practice10
Total study time140

Resources & Reading list

Fowler, J. & Cohen, L. (1990). Practical Statistics for Field Biologists. 

Rowntree, D. (1981). Statistics Without Tears. 

Barnard, C.J., Gilbert, F.S. & McGregor, P.K. (1993). Asking Questions in Biology. 

Martin, P.R. & Bateson, P.P.G. (1993). Measuring Behaviour. 

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

.

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Field Work Proposal 30%
Report 70%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Report 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Costs

Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Travel Costs for placements

You will need to provide and wear your own suitable clothing when attending field courses, e.g. waterproofs, walking boots. You can purchase these from any source and costs will vary depending on your preference. You will be expected to purchase your own lunch and any additional refreshments. (clothing)

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

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