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BIO2028 : Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Roy Sanderson
  • Lecturer: Dr Emmi Hall, Dr Colin Tosh, Dr Marion Pfeifer
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To introduce biodiversity science, ecological theory and conservation biology as evidence-based scientific disciplines; to complement other Stage 2 content on vertebrate Biology and evolution; to provide the background for further study of biodiversity, ecology and conservation at Stage 3.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module deals with the diversification of life from its origins to the present day, and the natural and anthropogenic influences that have produced patterns of biodiversity observed in space and through time, . The module introduces ecological theory and underlying models to quantify ecological processes and simplify complex ecological datasets. Against this background it also introduces conservation biology, focusing on the presentation and interpretation of evidence about human impacts on species and ecosystems, and the exploration of potential solutions to problems based on both science and practice.

Lectures cover the following topics:

Measuring biodiversity and assessing patterns in space and time.
Biogeography and islands
Utility and overexploitation of biological resources
Human wellbeing and social impacts of biodiversity
CBD, Red list and IUCN policy frameworks
Alien species introductions and disease.
Population biology
Patterns in community diversity
Ecosystems and foodwebs
Ecological models
Extinction risk and Population viability analysis.
Landscape ecology and conservation.
Fragmented habitats.
In situ and ex situ conservation.
Protected area selection, design and management

Practicals will cover ecological theory and data analysis of:
Life history tables, measuring diversity. Keystone species and intermediate disturbance hypothesis.

Field visits will explore the role of collections and archives in biodiversity research and education. And visit a local conservation area.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture181:0018:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion112:0012:00Preparation of formative assessment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Final Exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion180:309:00Revision for final exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical43:0012:00Practicals
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading182:0036:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork23:006:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study159:0059:00Study of lectures, Recap, Blackboard etc.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study46:0024:00Practical write up
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study181:0018:00lecture follow up
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study22:004:00Fieldtrip follow up
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide a conceptual understanding of and evidence for patterns in diversity, the underlying ecological theory of patterns and processes and the need for and design of conservation action at different scales. The practical’s give students experience of analysing ecological datasets and exploring simulated scenarios using advanced numerical and computer based applications. The fieldwork classes expand on some biodiversity and conservation issues.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M30Structured report(s) to test understanding of practical
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Practical/lab report2MStructured report to test understanding of practical
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The practical write ups are designed to assess the students skills in applying theory to problems in community ecology. The written exam will assess understanding of concepts and relevant knowledge of example material; including understanding of terminology and synthesis through data interpretation.

Reading Lists