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BIO8006 : Field Identification Skills

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Mark Whittingham
  • Lecturer: Dr Janet Simkin
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 3 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


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

Ornithology: field identification of birds by sight and sound using field guides/online resources, with demonstrations of identification in the wild, from photos and in the hand (captured for ringing);capture, inspection and ringing;
Higher plants and grasses: identification using taxonomic keys, and diagnosis of community types using the National Vegetation Classification, vegetation mapping, curation of herbarium specimens;

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion201:0020:00Preparation and Completion of class test
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical801:0080:00PiP practical sessions
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.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report3M100Each assessment comprises a class test
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 a combination of the following (a subset of these are used for some units, e.g. no collections of birds) tests, collections and/or field notebooks. 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.

Reading Lists