BIO3036 : Mammal Surveying Skills

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To provide training and expertise in field study and monitoring of mammal populations. The course will provide a broad view of different methods, analysis and their applications in wildlife population management and conservation.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will be taught as a week long field course at Cockle Park. Students will learn the practical skills involved in collecting data using four field survey techniques. During the course the students will learn how to analyse population and distribution using the latest software packages in R. Students will consider the application of the techniques to different survey and monitoring situations in including ethical considerations and experimental design.

Field techniques will include:

Radio-tracking of habitat use by mammals:
The aim is to provide experience in tracking of individual mammal species using radio tracking.

Small mammal trapping to estimate population density:
Assessing mammal population density is difficult because most mammal species in the UK are rarely observed. We will train students in the use of baited trapping (of rodents) with mark-release recapture as a means of analysing population density.

Bat monitoring to assess community composition and time budgets:
A lecture will provide a background on bat echolocation and species ecology. Students will be trained in how to use bat detectors, tuning to different frequencies for different species. Students will be provided with several recordings of bats and will analyse the data using batscan to determine which species are most likely recorded and the temporal range of foraging activity of each species.

Distance sampling for estimating abundance and density
Students will be trained in distance sampling methodology for estimating abundance and density. Students will learn how to estimate detection rates and incorporate error into their abundance estimates.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00completion of course work
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture51:005:00Pre field work lectures on techniques
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork57:0035:00TIme in the field at cockle park
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study120:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDistance Learning Advance Preparation110:0010:00Pre-course reading.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module will be practical based, each technique will be introduced with a short lecture providing the background on the ecology of the species to be monitored, the ethics of the technique and practical considerations. Students will be given a brief of each task and shown how to use specific equipment in small groups,to ensure all can see how it is used and will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the uses and benefits of each technique. All students will have the opportunity to use all the techniques.
Data analysis will be guided with detailed hand outs on how to upload data and basic usage of the packages and functions. Where limited data have been collected in the field suitable datasets for full analysis will be provided. Students will be encouraged to use available resources (books, papers,websites) to further their knowledge for details on more advanced analysis.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M1001500-2000 word report on 3 of the 4 activities.Field trip attendance is compulsory. Non-attendance will result in a mark penalty
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The report will cover three of the four techniques covered and will include writing up data analyses and structured discussion (based on specific questions to determine depth of knowledge).

Reading Lists