BIO2025 : UK Wildlife

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


Through the lectures the course aims:
• To introduce stage 2 students to the major terrestrial vertebrate groups in the UK, namely the amphibians, reptiles and mammals (but excludes birds).
• To introduce the characteristics of the various groups within the classes as well as their ecology and some of the threats to the different groups/species
• To instruct the students in the various survey techniques used to study the animals.

Through the practicals the course aims:
• To provide the students with an opportunity to undertake some of the field surveys outlined in the lecture material
• To provide the students with the opportunity to apply the information provided in the lectures and practicals to a particular species or habitat.

Outline Of Syllabus

• Introduction to UK Wildlife

• Animal groups that will be introduced (usually 1 lecture per group although some of the smaller groups would be combined and some of the larger ones split)
o Amphibians
o Reptiles
o Rodents
o Shrews, moles and Hedgehogs
o Rabbits and hares
o Bats
o Marine mammals
o Ungulates
o Carnivores
o Invasive species

• For each group, the identifying characteristics for the group and those for the different species making up that group will be outlined (morphology, markings, footprints etc.). The ecology of the various groups will be examined as will their conservation status.
Practicals will introduce field skills such as:
o Survey techniques
o Diet analysis
o Radio tracking

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion15:005:00Computer based assessment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Preparation of reports and documentary proposal
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops31:003:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork24:008:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity130:0030:00Group work
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study121:0012:00Lecture follow-up
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures will provide the theoretical background to the identification of the different species as well as the conservation theory. The practicals will provide an opportunity for the students to undertake some of the techniques commonly used to survey for the animal groups such as small mammal trapping, spraint analysis and radio tracking. The seminars will be used to start the group assignments by providing the information to the students about the overall process. These seminars will also be a means to introduce the students to their group members in an informal way.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M30500 words
Prof skill assessmnt1M50Wildlife documentary proposal (10-15 powerpoint slides in note format)
Computer assessment1M20Blackboard assessment
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Practical 1 will involve the setting of small mammal traps for pre-baiting for practical 2. It will also involve the analysis of spraint samples. Other material will also be made available such as plaster casts of tracks, food items etc. In Practical 2 the students will check their traps (set the previous night by the ML) and will identify any animals caught. Other examples of survey techniques will also be provided (e.g. hair tubes/radiotracking). The assessment for the practicals will be based on the analysis of the class data linking the animals to the habitat in which they were trapped.

The Wildlife documentary proposal: For this piece of assessment, students are expected to design a TV nature documentary based on a particular environmental or ecological subject, in the style of something they might see in a programme such as ‘Horizon’ or any of the David Attenborough series. The concept of this practical follows the idea of “learning by teaching”. By being required to present their material in such a way that it would be understood by a general, educated audience, the students have to have a thorough understanding of the material. Additionally, they learn more about field techniques by planning and justifying the practical elements that would be necessary to produce such a film. The students are encouraged to make their documentary interesting – not just a film version of a textbook – by presenting a particular angle or story, for example, following a particular animal’s or plant’s life, presenting the “story of a day” or “story of a year”, following researchers through a field season, or any other original idea.

The assessed output of the documentary proposal is the storyboard of the documentary, including all narration and interview text, and a list/description of the resources and fieldwork techniques required to accomplish the film. Students work in groups and are told that their documentaries should be aimed at 15 minutes in length. The assessed work will be based on a group submission but with a peer assessment component.

The lecture and practical material will be assessed through an online test via Blackboard using a variety of question styles (MCQ, matching answers etc.)

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 this.

Reading Lists