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Module

BIO1021 : Diversity of Life: Form and Function

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Mark Shirley
  • Lecturer: Dr Fiona Cuskin, Professor William Willats, Dr Maria Del Carmen Montero-Calasanz, Dr Maxim Kapralov, Professor Neil Boonham, Professor Frank Sargent, Dr Jon Marles-Wright, Dr James Stach, Dr Catherine Tétard-Jones
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

The module aims to provide a broad introduction to the diversity of forms and functions in animals, plants and microorganisms that will stimulate students’ interest in all forms of life. The module will include the basic body plans of major animal phyla and the evolutionary relationships between those phyla, the diversity of plants in relation to different environments and the importance of microorganisms in the natural world as well as for human well-being. The combination of lectures and practical work will engender an understanding of fundamental biological principles and develop cognitive skills through the analysis and interpretation of data and observations obtained within the laboratory.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lectures:
Lectures on animals provide a broad introduction to major animal groups. They explore the evolution of fundamental characteristics such as body cavities, tissue layers, bilateral symmetry and type of cell cleavage during embryogenesis. Beginning with the simplest animals, the module examines the evolution of bilateral symmetry and of more complex characteristics in invertebrates. It then explores the early evolution of the chordates, leading eventually to the vertebrates.
Lectures on microorganisms will examine the diversity of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms, key features of microbial growth and physiology, interactions with plants and animals and uses of microorganisms.
Lectures on plants will examine relations between plant structures, such as leaves, and their functions, how plants acquire nutrients and the importance of water, how they have adapted to the diverse and in some cases extreme and stressful environments in which they grow, and the likely consequences of climate change.
Practicals will cover:
Morphology of invertebrates and its relation to phylogeny
Comparative anatomy of vertebrates
Structures of microorganisms
Measurement of microbial growth
Nitrate in plant nutrition
Adaptation through Crassulacean acid metabolism

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials101:0010:00Non-synchronous online Plant Biology lecture material
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials101:0010:00Non-synchronous online Zoology lecture material
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials101:0010:00Non-synchronous online microbiology lecture material
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion23:006:00Plant Biology
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion23:006:00Zoology
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion23:006:00Microbiology
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical23:006:00PiP - Plant Biology practical
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical23:006:00PiP - Microbiology practical
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities23:006:00Zoology
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery20:301:00Synchronous online Microbiology discussion with lecturer
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study301:0030:00Routine lecture follow up
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1102:30102:30Reading and research of module topics
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk10:300:30Non-synchronous module talk
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Online lectures will provide the framework and theory for appreciation of the diversity of form and function among living organisms. Practicals will give students the opportunity for direct observation of organisms, for developing skills in observation and experimental manipulation of organisms, and in collecting, analysing, presenting and interpreting experimental data. Directed reading and links to further information will encourage individual learning and will contribute to greater understanding of the topics within the module.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination1202A70Alternate Assessment to be used if necessary if any further changes due to Covid-19
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M10Assessed practical Zoology lab report (max. 2000 words).
Practical/lab report2M10Assessed practical Microbiology lab report (max. 2000 words)
Practical/lab report2M10Assessed practical Plant Biology report (max. 2000 words)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Practical/lab report1MPractice in analysing and reporting for Zoology
Practical/lab report1MPractice in analysing and reporting for Microbiology
Computer assessment1MBlackboard self-test quiz
Computer assessment2MBlackboard self-test quizzes
Practical/lab report2MPractice in analysing and reporting for Plant Biology
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam will assess factual knowledge of the diversity of life and basic ability to interpret biological processes. The practical reports assess the ability to record, analyse and interpret experimental results. Formative assessment through practice lab reports and Canvas tests will help students prepare for the summatively assessed reports and for the exam by allowing them to gauge their preparedness and identify where improvement is needed.

Study Abroad students may request to take their exam before the semester 1 exam period, in which case the format of the paper may differ from that shown in the MOF. Study Abroad students should contact the school to discuss.

Reading Lists

Timetable