The University of Southampton
Courses

BIOL6028 Global Change Biology

Module Overview

This course will consider human-caused global change and its impact on marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. We will discuss the main causes of global change, including greenhouse gases, changes in temperature and rainfall, biological invasions, and human land use, as well as how these changes can subsequently trigger other drivers of change (e.g. ocean acidification, river regulation, soil characteristics). Biological responses to these human induced changes will be considered in terms of how organisms, species and communities may acclimatize, adapt or change. Specifically, we will consider how organisms can adapt genetically and phenotypically, and how and why communities may change in their species and functional composition. After consolidating understanding of the causes of, and biological responses to, global change, we will consider what these impacts mean for ecosystem structure and function, the development of novel ecosystems, and approaches for conservation and ecosystem management under global change. Microbes, plants and animals from a range of ecosystems will be considered and the latest research findings will be presented throughout the module.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To provide an understanding of i) current global change caused by human activities, ii) ways in which biota respond and adapt to global change, and iii) approaches available for managing and accommodating impacts of global change.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Discuss the major causes of global change
  • Show the key ways in which global change impacts biota
  • Critique potential repercussions of global change on ecosystems

Syllabus

This course will consider human-caused global change and its impact on marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. We will discuss the main causes of global change, including greenhouse gases, changes in temperature and rainfall, biological invasions, and human land use, as well as how these changes can subsequently trigger other drivers of change (e.g. ocean acidification, river regulation, soil characteristics). Biological responses to these human induced changes will be considered in terms of how organisms, species and communities may acclimatize, adapt or change. Specifically, we will consider how organisms can adapt genetically and phenotypically, and how and why communities may change in their species and functional composition. After consolidating understanding of the causes of, and biological responses to, global change, we will consider what these impacts mean for ecosystem structure and function, the development of novel ecosystems, and approaches for conservation and ecosystem management under global change. Microbes, plants and animals from a range of ecosystems will be considered and the latest research findings will be presented throughout the module.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, independent study, writing an abstract and creating a poster, writing a research proposal and a final MCQ exam.

TypeHours
Independent Study128
Lecture22
Total study time150

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Academic poster 15%
MCQ-applied knowledge assessment 25%
Research proposal  (3500 words) 60%
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