Skip to main content


BIO2028 : Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Emmi Hall
  • Lecturer: Dr Marion Pfeifer, Dr James Kitson
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To develop students’ appreciation of biodiversity science, ecological theory and conservation biology as evidence-based scientific disciplines; to provide the background for further study of biodiversity, ecology and conservation at Stage 3.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module deals with the diversification of life from its origins to the present day, and the natural and anthropogenic influences that have produced patterns of biodiversity observed in space and through time. The module develops theory of ecological patterns and processes. Against this background it also deals with conservation biology, focusing on the presentation and interpretation of evidence about impacts on species and ecosystems, and the exploration of potential solutions to problems based on both science and practice.

Lectures cover the following topics:

Ecological concepts in population, community and ecosystem biology
Ecological models
Measuring biodiversity and assessing patterns in space and time
Ecosystem functioning and resilience
Conservation of populations and ecosystems
Protected area selection, design and management
Challenges in conservation science

Field visits will explore the role of collections and archives in biodiversity research and education, and visit a local conservation area.
Field and computer practicals will cover ecological theory and data analysis of:
Life history tables, keystone species, intermediate disturbance hypothesis and quantitative analysis of biodiversity.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Assessed practical write up
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture191:0019:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Final Exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion180:309:00Revision for exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical33:009:00Computer practicals using SimBio & multivariate diversity data analysis
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading182:0036:00Lecture follow up
Guided Independent StudySkills practice54:0020:00Field class & practical preparation and follow up
Guided Independent StudySkills practice24:008:00Completing SimBio computer practical work
Guided Independent StudySkills practice110:0010:00Data analysis practice
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork13:003:00Museum collections
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork25:0010:00Wallington & Woodland invertebrate diversity
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study183:0054:00Background reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide a conceptual understanding of and evidence for patterns in diversity, the underlying ecological theory of patterns and processes and the need for and design of conservation action at different scales. Practicals give students experience of collecting and analysing ecological data sets, and exploring computer simulated scenarios. The fieldwork expands on biodiversity and conservation issues and practice.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M30Field practical Results and Discussion (1000 words + figures).
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Prob solv exercises2M2 x SimBio Computer practical worksheet, peer marked in class, with a model answer
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The field practical write up is designed to assess the students’ skills in applying theory to biodiversity and community ecology; data analysis, interpretation and presentation skills; plus scientific writing, with use of supporting literature. The written exam will assess understanding of concepts and relevant knowledge of example material; including understanding of terminology and synthesis through data interpretation.
The formative SimBio computer practical worksheet allows students' to apply their knowledge and assess their learning, receiving immediate feedback in class.
Use software to analyse data, compare ecological communities and produce figures.

Reading Lists