Last modified: 05 Oct 2023 08:46
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.
|First Sub Session
|15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
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:
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
Effects of biodiversity
|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.
Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.
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.
There are no assessments for this course.
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.
|ILO’s for this course are available in the course guide.