BIO3040 : Applied Ecology

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Human activity has major impacts on the ecology of both managed and unmanaged ecosystems, and it is important for modern ecologists to understand the effects on individuals, populations and communities of plants and animals. To do this successfully, ecologists require both a thorough understanding of the underlying theories that can be used to describe the behaviour of ecological systems, and also the ability to apply these theories so as to predict the likely results of human activity. Applied ecologists must also be able to communicate effectively scientific knowledge into clear guidance that can be used by policy-makers; this may include control of crop pests or alien invasives, or conservation of rare and endangered species.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lectures will be under five broad themes:
• Ecological theory and models approaches, with examples of their use in conservation, fisheries and grazing systems
• Ecological networks, with examples from agro-ecosystems and landscape ecology
• Induced and constitutive plant defences and how to exploit them to control pests and pathogens
• Biological control, including assessment of crop pests
• Scientific knowledge and policy – how to communicate scientific findings for policy-makers

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Policy Brief
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion180:309:00Revision for final exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture181:0018:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00Computer practical
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity122:0022:00Project presentations
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity62:0012:00Project presentation prep and reflection
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study182:0036:00Directed reading
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study182:0036:00Study of lectures, ReCap, Blackboard etc.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study181:0018:00Lecture follow up
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study22:004:00Computer practical preparation and follow up
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will include case studies to demonstrate the application of ecological theory in practical contexts. Students will also attend computer practicals to aid their understanding of theory, give group presentations on ecological practice, and learn the skills needed to communicate scientific findings to policy makers.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A80N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M20Policy or Management Brief 6-8 pages
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1MGroup presentations on life history ecology theory and applied ecology.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination will give students an opportunity to demonstrate that they have a thorough understanding of both underlying ecological theory, and how this can be applied in real-world situations and broader areas of the module content. Students will be expected to integrate material from multiple lectures, plus additional study, in order to answer the questions effectively.

The Policy Brief will assess students’ abilities to communicate often complex ecological concepts in clear, concise yet precise language, suitable for non-scientists to understand and make informed decisions.

Reading Lists