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The University of Southampton

BIOL6049 Fieldwork: before, during and after

Module Overview

Preparatory sessions delivered at Marwell wildlife will cover aspects such as risk assessment for fieldwork, politics and diplomacy and basic field skills. There is then a 10 day field course to one of Marwell Wildlife’s conservation and research sites in either North Hampshire, Kenya or Tunisia. On returning from the field sites students will present outcomes of group-based short projects and discuss with groups from alternative sites. Through this facilitated discussion, students will compare, contrast and critically review their success and limitations with those of groups that have undertaken projects in alternative environments.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• To design and carryout a small survey to inform conservation decision-making, in a group • To present the findings of the survey in a group presentation to peers • To evaluate limitations associated with surveying, including health and safety, and social, cultural and economic aspects

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Understand challenges associated with field work and implications for survey design
  • Critically review the success of your own survey work and that of others
  • Demonstrate knowledge of assessing risk in field environments
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Assess and minimise risk, to ensure your and other’s safety, when accessing and working in remote and challenging environments
  • Deliver results and outcomes from a small survey, as a group presentation
  • Demonstrate strong discussion and group working skills
  • Appreciate social, cultural and economic aspects and consider them when working in the field
  • Foster in yourself and others a ‘solution-conscious’ working approach to surveying and monitoring wildlife


In preparation for the residential field course, students will take part in sessions based on risk assessment for fieldwork, politics and diplomacy associated with collaborative conservation work, and basic field skills. The three alternative locations for the field course are very different from one another and offer a range of challenges and limitations specific to each habitat, as well as the site’s political and stakeholder frameworks. Students will visit one of these sites and seek to understand the context and complexities of conserving species and habitats at that location. Small groups of students will undertake a small survey devised with Marwell Conservation Biologists, to allow them to understand and apply field survey techniques. On returning to the UK, students will participate in an assessed group presentation and facilitated discussion session, to share the outcomes of their different experiences.

Special Features

Project work will be undertaken in small groups. Students who are unable to access the field site will be able to be involved in all aspects of project planning and analysis, and group presentation. The site of the field course will be considered depending on individual needs.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Study time allocation [Contact time includes: Lectures, seminars, tutorials, project supervision, demonstration, practicals/workshops/fieldwork/external visits/work based learning] Teaching and Learning Methods [List all types of learning methods, with a brief description of what that entails, e.g. Formal Lectures will provide an introduction to …..; Practical sessions will exemplify the theory and allow you to develop …..] Before the field course (4 hours lectures, 8 hours practicals/ seminars/ tutorials) Risk Assessments for field work Politics and diplomacy Basic field skills Plan group project, including equipment requirements During the 10 day field course (80 hours during field supervision and facilitation of group survey) Carry out short group project The exact project will vary from year to year but will utilise skills and knowledge learnt in other modules of the programme and be appropriate to the field site of either: North Hampshire, Kenya or Tunisia and specific issues or needs on that site at the time. The field course will be constituted by a mixture of learning experiences including informal demonstrations, discussions, meetings with stakeholders and community members, and supervised practical sessions when students will undertake the field component of their group small survey. Student groups will be accompanied throughout the core eight days (two days are allowed for travel to and from the site) by Marwell’s resident Conservation Biologist responsible for each site. After the field course (8 hours independent study) Development of group presentation

Independent Study8
Practical classes and workshops8
Total study time100

Resources & Reading list

Heinzel et al. A field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe, North Africa and Middle East. 

Chinery M. A field Guide to the Insects of Britain and Northern Europe. 

Mitchell-Jones, A.J. et al. Mammals of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. 

Polunin O. and Smythies B.E. Flowers of S.W. Europe. 

Barrett et al. Overseas Research II: a practical guide ebook. 

Zimmerman et al. Birds of Kenya and Tanzania. 

Hubbard, C.E. Grasses: a guide to their structure, identification, uses and distribution. 

Alden et al. Field guide to African wildlife. 

Heinzel et al. A field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe, North Africa and Middle East. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Group presentation  (30 minutes) 80%
Individual risk assessment 20%


MethodPercentage contribution
Individual risk assessment 20%
Presentation  (30 minutes) 80%


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

Students will pay for travel to and from UK airports.

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

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