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BIO2028 : Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Gavin Stewart
  • Lecturer: Dr Kirsty McInnes, Dr Evelyn Jensen
  • 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

Practicals will cover ecological theory and data analysis of:
Life history tables, keystone species, and quantitative analysis of biodiversity.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials191:0019:00Online lecture materials via Canvas
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion180:309:00Revision for exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Final Exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Assessed practical write up
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00Summative assessment based on analysing data on life history tables (2 weeks allowed for this)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical33:009:00Computer practicals using SimBio & multivariate diversity data analysis
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading181:0018:00Online lecture material follow up
Guided Independent StudySkills practice24:008:00Completing SimBio computer practical work
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork23:006:00Field trips
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study145:0045:00Background reading
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study22:004:00Field trip follow up
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Online 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 analysing ecological data sets, and exploring computer simulated scenarios. The fieldwork classes expand on some biodiversity and conservation issues. Reading expands on biodiversity and conservation issues and practice.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M30Data analysis and interpretation
Written exercise2M70Written exercise analysing data on life history tables
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Prob solv exercises2MSimBio Computer practical worksheet, peer marked in class, with a model answer
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The 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 exercise 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