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The University of Southampton

BIOL1003 Ecology & Evolution

Module Overview

This module introduces students to the main branches of ecology by considering the various levels at which the subject may be studied: individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems. The aim of the practical sessions is to demonstrate how professional ecologists define and identify problems, how data are collected, and how results of ecological research are analysed, interpreted and applied to environmental and global issues.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • explain how organisms interact with their environment
  • explain the basics of population ecology
  • explain the dynamics of communities and ecosystems
  • explain the relevance of evolution to ecology
  • carry out simple ecological experiments under supervision
  • collect, analyse and interpret data to produce focused scientific reports.


The module has four sections: (1) Organisms and their environment - ecophysiology and distribution of organisms in relation to abiotic factors; (2) Evolutionary and behavioural ecology - selection and adaptation, co-evolution, sex and extinction; (3) Population ecology - intra- and inter-specific competition, density dependence, predation, niches & mutualism; and (4) Communities & ecosystems - succession, diversity, nutrient cycling and energy flow. The practicals deal with estimating population size, exploring the mutualistic relationship between plants and rhizobium bacteria, and measuring diversity.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, practical classes, and independent learning via text books and internet resources. Feedback is obtained from practical reports, direct and email contact with lecturers and demonstrators, and self-assessment quizzes on Blackboard.

Independent Study117
Practical classes and workshops6
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Molles, M.C. Concepts and Applications. 

Smith, T.M. & Smith, R.L. Elements of Ecology. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 25%
Examination  (2 hours) 75%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 25%
Examination  (2 hours) 75%
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