Module Catalogue 2018/19

BIO2003 : Field Identification Skills

  • Offered for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Mark Whittingham
  • Lecturer: Dr Janet Simkin, Dr Mark Shirley, Professor Stephen Rushton, Dr Roy Sanderson
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To provide a concentrated training in the field and laboratory skills required to identify a variety of species in the British flora and fauna.

Outline Of Syllabus

Entomology: collection, curation and identification of insects using taxonomic keys;
Ornithology: field identification of birds by sight and sound using field guides, with demonstrations of capture, inspection and ringing;
Higher plants: identification using taxonomic keys, and diagnosis of community types using the National Vegetation Classification, vegetation mapping, curation of herbarium specimens;
Lower plants/fungi: collection, curation and identification of lichens, algae and fungi, using field guides and keys.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

A working knowledge of the systematics of the taxa studied, the terminology used to describe their morphology, and the ability to name common species on sight.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Methods of collecting, curating, inspecting and identifying species using field guides and/or taxonomic keys.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
  • Self Management
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Present
      • Negotiation : Present
      • Peer Assessment Review : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion201:0020:00Revision
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical801:0080:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
BIO8006Field Identification Skills
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The timing of these weeks between academic years allows for the intensity of work required to train students in taxonomic expertise, whilst the weeks are selected as the best times of year in which to find the target taxa in the field with relative ease and in diverse forms.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M1002 pieces of assessment from 6 options. Each assessment comprises a class test, specimen collection and field notebook.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students are required to spend some time preparing for the activities each day and for the end of unit test.

Students take two units from a choice of four (Entomology, Ornithology, Higher plants, Lower plants/fungi) with each unit being assessed by tests, collections, field notebooks etc. The exact composition of the assessment differs between units depending on the subject. The tests will assess knowledge of the identity of common species and the ability to identify others using keys and field guides.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.