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ACE8016 : Habitat Monitoring and Assessment

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Janet Simkin
  • Lecturer: Mrs Helen Adamson
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims to:

Train students in ecological monitoring, Phase 1 survey, Phase 2 soils and vegetation survey, and report production

Outline Of Syllabus

Preliminary lectures and practicals will introduce students to the principles of ecological monitoring, Phase 1 and Phase 2 survey, and develop some of the skills needed. This will be followed by a residential (5 day) field class during which the students will carry out the surveys, and the group and individual work to collate the field data and carry out integrated analysis, mapping, interpretation and report preparation.
Each topic will be introduced in lectures and practicals, and then further developed during field work, data analysis and presentation of results. During the field work and data collation students will work in small groups, but the assessments are to be produced individually. Topics include:
•       Survey and monitoring methods for conservation and research
•       Plant classification and identification
•       Vegetation monitoring for research including: Experimental design for ecology, Field vegetation data collection methods and statistical analysis (e.g. ANOVA, diversity indices, ecological indices and multivariate analysis)
•       Phase 1 survey
•       Phase 2 survey including soil classification and survey methods, plant communities and the national vegetation classification, vegetation survey methods, site desk study and GIS, site reconnaissance, integrated soil and vegetation survey in the field, results collation, analysis and presentation, habitat condition assessment, and management recommendations.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00Preparation of Vegetation Monitoring Report
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00Preparation of Phase 1 Survey Map and Report
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Processing and analysis of field data. Preparation of Phase 2 Survey Report.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture72:0014:00Principles of Phase 1 & 2 habitat assess; soil & veg survey; veg monitoring for research; plant ID
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical63:0018:00Anal of veg monitoring data (ANOVA & multivariate); veg survey data (NVC), plant ID
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00Seminar - Experiment design and analysis
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork58:0040:00Residential field class, with field work and evening practical sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork26:0012:00Field experience of vegetation sampling, soil description and plant identification
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity140:0040:00Collaboration during residential field trip and after to collate and analyse field data
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study114:0014:00Background reading to support individual contributions to assessed report
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide an introduction to the principles of ecological monitoring, Phase 1 survey, and Phase 2 vegetation and soil survey, including standard techniques, integrated survey design, and planning. Practical classes develop field and analytical skills, and include a preparatory desk study for the residential field course. During the residential field course students will gain practical experience of survey techniques for Phase 1 and integrated Phase 2 habitat assessments in different terrestrial habitats, and this is followed by further experience of data collation, analysis and classification, and in the interpretation of soil and vegetation patterns and the physical resource base of the wildlife habitats surveyed.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M25Vegetation monitoring report (no more than 6 pages)
Report2M5Phase 1 survey map and report (500 words)
Report2M70Phase 2 survey report (4,000) words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The vegetation monitoring report will provide for testing students understanding of the differences between methods of monitoring, and their ability to undertake vegetation monitoring and to analyse and present the results.
The Phase 1 survey map will test students ability to undertake and present a Phase 1 survey, and the report will test their understanding of the advantages and limitations of the technique.
The Phase 2 survey report will provide for the testing of students ability to have undertaken an integrated vegetation and soil survey, and to collate, analyse, present and report the results. It will also test their skills in working as a team in the collection, collation, interpretation and integration of survey data for defined objectives, and their ability to produce a report in a defined timescale to simulate workplace conditions.

Reading Lists