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The University of Southampton

SOES1009 The Living Earth

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe and explain the significance of major events in the history of life, and their causes/consequences for the Earth and its environment.
  • Understand and explain the role of biological processes during the evolution of the Earth system.
  • Be conversant with the time ranges of and recognise the major groups of animals and plants in earth history
  • Generic Skills: Pattern recognition
  • Subject-Specific Skills: an understanding of Earth System History; Fossil identification skills.


Topics will include the origin of life, 3 billion years of single cells, snowball Earth, the first multi-celled animals, early sea life, reefs through time, Britain assembles, ancient glaciations, the greening of the continents, from a hothouse to an ice plant, life in the coal swamps, the great dying, changing sea-levels, orbital wobbles, the Chalk seas, giant reptiles, the end of the dinosaurs, the landscape modernizes, children of the ice ages, the goldilocks planet, the future. There will be one general introductory practical for all students. All Geology students will complete a series of weekly practical classes based around individual groups of organisms and their fossil representatives

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Formal lectures (45 minute lectures): each lecture systematically covers the main concepts and topics by the use of PowerPoint presentations. Key aims objective and learning outcomes for each lecture are provided in advance on the Blackboard website for this module, as will the Powerpoint presentations for those wanting to preview the material. Where relevant, lecturers' own research experience in the appropriate fields is brought into the lecturing sessions. Background reading material and links to other appropriate media resources will also be available via the Blackboard website. Practical classes (for students registered for Geology degrees): interactive practical classes are supported by staff and post-graduate demonstrators. Access to practical material is available for independent work, and there are also online resources available. Laboratory classes will be based on 'flipped learning' techniques, where you will be required to run through an introductory session introducing the material to be studied in the next practical session prior to attending that session, as only a very short introductory talk will highlighting techniques to be employed and the goals to be attained will be given at the start of each practical session. Demonstrator support will be provided weekly. Academic support: all students are encouraged to discuss any aspect of the course with staff (both lecturer and post-graduate demonstrators [the latter for the practical classes]). A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

Practical classes and workshops34
Independent Study92
Total study time150



Online test


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination 80%
Online tasks 5%
Online test 15%
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