Study Abroad and Exchanges

Modules

Modules

GEO2136 : Global Environmental Change

Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

•       To develop an understanding of global climate and environmental change during the Quaternary.
•       To develop an awareness of geological time and the evolution of the Earth's natural systems.
•       To understand the human adaptations and cultural development, and the impacts of humans on the environment.
•       To understand how natural system change is deciphered using the tools of modern science for palaeoenvironmental investigation.
•       To provide broad grounding in knowledge and skills necessary for Stage 3 modules palaeoenvironmental modules and dissertations.

Outline Of Syllabus

In each semester the module will be delivered by means of lectures and practical sessions and a one-day fieldtrip to Bolton Fell Moss. Lectures will deliver the knowledge base while practicals with give hands-on experience of a range of proxies useful in palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, and in the analysis of geochronological and palaeoenvironmental datasets. The fieldtrip will introduce techniques of field data collection and description. Themes explored in the module include:
•       Introduction to the Pleistocene: Establishing a broad global framework using isotopic records from the oceans.
•       Ice-core proxies and millennial-scale change.
•       Establishing land-ocean correlation: An introduction to geochronology.
•       Continental Records: Interpreting the sedimentary record of the “Cold Stages”.
•       Continental Records: Interpreting the palaeoecological records of the “Warm Stages”.
•       Reconstructing Environmental Change during Termination 1
•       Introduction to the Holocene: climate, environment, human development and impacts.
•       Proxy records of Holocene environmental change.
•       Early Holocene climate and environmental change: LG-Holocene transition, vegetation change and sea-levels, human adaptation during the Mesolithic.
•       Human responses to changing environments: Early agriculture and agricultural dispersions, environmental constraints and impacts.
•       Intensification of agriculture: Forest clearance in Europe, desertification in the Mediterranean, and the rise of civilisation in the Middle East and Mesoamerica.
Late Holocene environmental change: Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age; western colonisation, land-use change and its ecological consequences.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture181:0018:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical72:0014:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork18:008:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1160:00160:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Any attempt at successful reconstruction of Quaternary environments requires proficient practical skills surrounding the range of methods employed, underpinned by a significant academic knowledge base which addresses the theory behind the methods and awareness of the wider conceptual and theoretical issues. Here we consider it essential to assess all these elements and to place equal weighting on the practical and more academic skills. Practical portfolios will assess technical skills including data production and analysis, whereas the written examination will assess the more theoretical and conceptual aspects of palaeoenvironmental reconstruction.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M25Individual practical write up (1000 wds)
Practical/lab report2M25Individual practical write up (1000 wds)
Written exercise2M50Take home exam (2000 wds)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

We consider it essential to assess all these elements and to place equal weighting on the practical and more academic skills. Practical portfolios will assess technical skills including data production and analysis, whereas the take home examination will assess the more theoretical and conceptual aspects of environmental change during the Quaternary. The take home exam assessment provides a time limited aspect, not present in essays, that more closely mirrors skills that students may be expected to have in the graduate workplace.

Reading Lists

Timetable