BIO3006 : Plant-Animal Interactions

  • Offered for Year: 2015/16
  • Module Leader(s): Prof. Geraldine Wright
  • Owning School: Biology
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


Our understanding of the ecology of plant-animal interactions has rapidly grown in the last 40 years. Such interactions are fundamental to life on earth. This module is designed to provide the student with an advanced approach to understanding the ecology of plants and the animals that eat their tissues, pollinate their flowers, and form symbioses for seed dispersal and protection from herbivores.
The course will include lectures on the chemistry of plant defences, behaviours that animals use to overcome plant defences, animal nutrition, symbioses, and plant-pollinator interactions. Lectures will focus on specific case examples from the literature which illustrate important principles of this field and will also illustrate how such interactions can be used in an applied agricultural and conservation setting.

Outline Of Syllabus

The topics covered in this module include:
* Chemistry of plant defence
* Animal nutrition: why eating plants is a good (and a bad) idea
* Plant defences from herbivores and herbivore behaviour
* Pollinators and floral displays: the importance of animals in the evolution of flowering plants
* Symbioses between plants and animals
* Impact of plant conservation on animal conservation
* Plant-insect interactions in agricultural settings: defending crops via genetic modification of plant tissues

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion190:309:30Revision for final exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture191:0019:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading191:0019:00Completion of post-lecture directed reading
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study131:3031:30Study of lectures, ReCap, Blackboard etc.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study191:0019:00Lecture follow up
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Information for students will be provided by lectures. The lectures will provide students with examples and the theoretical interpretation of the ecology of plant-animal interactions from both a physiological and evolutionary scientific perspective. The lectures will also cover the applied aspects of plant-animal interactions from both an agricultural and conservation perspective.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A100N/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The final written examination will assess the knowledge and ability to understand and relate the main concepts covered in the course. The long answer essays will assess the ability of students to produce arguments in favour of their chosen topic and to support these arguments with case studies discussed in class or from the assigned literature. The short answer essay questions will assess the ability of students to understand material from the module lectures and to write quickly and concisely. Students will be given a list of important topics at the beginning of each lecture which outline potential areas from which essays for the exam will be taken. They will also have access to a practice version of the exam on Blackboard.

Reading Lists


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