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BI2020: ECOLOGY (2023-2024)

Last modified: 05 Oct 2023 08:46


Course Overview

This course builds on themes from introductory ecology courses: effects of biodiversity, disturbance in natural communities, nutrient and energy cycles. herbivory, predation, competition, population dynamics, parasitism, mutualisms and foodwebs.  You will develop your abilities to interpret data by applying theory discussed in classes to real-life data sets using short problem-solving exercises linked to each topic.  Feedback will help you improve writing and interpretation skills.  Extended problem-solving exercises will improve your communication skills, scientific writing and introduce you to valuable approaches to summarising complex datasets in Excel. You will also consider issues around experimental design.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 2
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study Yes
Co-ordinators
  • Dr Clare Trinder

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?

No

Course Description

The content covers core topics in ecology and uses examples from terrestrial and marine systems, plants, animals and soil. It features the following themes: the nature of ecological communities and how we describe, measure and quantify them; interactions such as herbivory, competition, parasitism and predation; the role of mutualisms in community dynamics; the impact of biodiversity and its effect on ecosystem function; food-webs, community assembly and biogeography; population dynamics and ecosystem processes.

Although topics are covered as separate units, there is a strong emphasis on the links between these interactions, encouraging you to develop a holistic view to see how organisms and functions are interconnected.

Interpretation exercises based on theories and ideas from each topic will develop your capacity for problem identification, collection of evidence and synthesis of ideas.
The introduction to Excel PivotTables provides you with a transferable skill which may be valuable for analysing data in Honours Projects and when working with any large data set in future.  An introduction to Geographic Information Systems will provide you with skills in using mapping systems for analysing ecological data and producing professional-quality maps for reports.

By the end of the course students should:

  • Be able to identify and explain the functioning of the main trophic interactions between organisms: competition; predation; mutualism and herbivory.
  • Understand the concepts determining interactions between individuals in a population.
  • Be able to describe the role of these different interactions in community structure and the dynamics of coexistence, food-webs, spatial dynamics and temporal patterns.
  • Understand how the biotic environments interacts with physico-chemical environment to provide living conditions and act as a source and sink for energy and matter.
  • Be able to interpret data from graphs, tables and text and explain the interactions they show.
  • Be able to present data and write reports and essays in an appropriate scientific style.
  • Be able to summarise large data-sets using Pivot-tables
  • Be able to use GIS to produce professional-quality maps

Taught topics include:

(note that these may vary slightly between years)

Energy and nutrient cycling and their roles in ecosystem dynamics
Community structure and disturbance
Inter-specific competition
Population dynamics
Life histories
Predation
Food-webs
Parasitism
Mutualisms
Effects of biodiversity
Dispersal

 

Associated Costs

DescriptionValue
Students should possess a Howie laboratory coat and safety glasses. Further details of requirements can be found on the course's MyAberdeen page. The cost listed here is approximate. GBP 23.00

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Computer Practical during University weeks 9, 15
  • 1 Science Laboratory during University weeks 8, 11, 13, 17 - 18
  • 3 Lectures during University weeks 8, 10 - 14, 16 - 18
  • 1 Lecture during University weeks 9, 15
  • 1 Tutorial during University weeks 9, 15

More Information about Week Numbers


Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

Practicals

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 50
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Feedback

5 practicals worth 10% each

Students will receive regular written feedback on non-assessed writing exercises and on each practical report (assessed) before the start of the next practical class. Where students are having difficulty with writing exercises they will be invited to discuss options to help them improve with course staff.

Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Exam

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 50
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Feedback
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Resit Assessments

Resubmission of failed elements

Assessment Type Summative Weighting
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Feedback

Students will repeat whichever elements of the assessment were failed or not completed at first sitting; the marks for elements already passed will be carried forwards.

Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
FactualRememberILO’s for this course are available in the course guide.

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