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Last modified: 26 Feb 2018 19:47

Course Overview

The students will learn about the basic ecological theory and modelling approaches required to understand population dynamics, and which are great importance for the successful management of animal populations to meet conservation or sustainable exploitation objectives. Students will have the opportunity to apply the theory learned in a series of field- and computer-based practicals. The course will provide the students with valuable analytical skills and an in-depth knowledge and understanding of population dynamics of animals.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Vasilis Louca

Qualification Prerequisites

  • [$3][$4]

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

  • One of BI1012 Diversity of Life 1 (Passed) or BI1512 Diversity of Life 2 (Passed) or BI15P1 Introduction to Soils (Passed) or BI2001 Community Ecology (Passed) or BI2002 Genes and Evolution (Passed) or BI2007 Foundation Skills for Biological Sciences (Passed) or BI2008 Diversity of Life (Passed) or BI2009 Biological Enhanced Skills Training (Best) (Passed) or BI2011 Biological Enhanced Skills Training (Best) (Passed) or BI2012 Diversity of Life - Theory (Passed) or BI2013 Diversity of Life - Practical (Passed) or BI2015 Biological Enhanced Skills Training (Best) (Passed) or BI2016 Community Ecology (Passed) or BI2017 Genes and Evolution (Passed) or BI2018 Biological Enhanced Skills Training (Best) (Passed) or BI2019 Community Ecology (Passed) or BI2020 Ecology (Passed) or BI2505 Conservation Biology (Passed) or BI2508 Principles of Animal Physiology (Passed) or BI2509 Conservation Biology (Passed) or BI2510 Principles of Animal Physiology (Passed) or BI25P2 Biological Topics in Plant and Soil Science (Passed) or BI25P4 Plants, People, and the Environment (Passed)
  • One of BSc Biology (Studied) or BSc Conservation Biology (Studied) or BSc Zoology (Studied) or BSc Animal Ecology (Studied) or BSc Marine Biology (Studied) or BSc Animal Behaviour (Studied) or BSc Behavioural Biology (Studied) or MSci Biological Sciences (Studied) or BSc Biological Sciences (Honours) (Studied) or BSc Plant and Soil Sciences (Studied) or Bachelor Of Science In Environmental And Forest Management (Studied) or BSc Ecology (Studied) or BSc Forestry (Studied) or BSc Forest Sciences (Studied) or BSc Environmental Science (Studied)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The course aims to help students gain an understanding of the factors that affect animal population dynamics and describes a range of simple mathematical models representing population growth, competition and predation, which are useful for predicting changes in population size. Furthermore, the course offers students practical experience in the collection, handling and interpretation of animal population data. Throughout the course, concepts are illustrated using examples of animal populations that are of high conservation importance or which are managed to assure sustainable exploitation.

Associated Costs


Further Information & Notes

This course extends over five weeks; it is available only to students in year 3 of their programme.

This course runs in weeks  13-17, and is scheduled in Thread 2, so may have contact hours in any or all of these times:  Mondays, 14-18; Tuesday, all day; Friday, 14-18.  If this is an optional course, there may also be contact hours on Wednesdays, 9-11.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed

  • BSc Animal Ecology
  • BSc Conservation Biology
  • BSc Ecology
  • BSc Marine Biology
  • BSc Zoology

Contact Teaching Time

76 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown


First Assessment:

The course is assessed through in-course assessments. These comprise online tests, a final report and an in-class, computer based assessment. The online tests will cover material from both the practical classes and the lectures associated with each practical. Tests will be available on MyAberdeen and will include various types of questions including multiple choice and short answer. The final report will be in the format of a scientific paper and will be based on work undertaken during the practical classes. The in-class online assessment will be problem –based and will assess the students’ understanding of basic population ecology modeling. Extra credit activities will be available.


Similar to 1st attempt, with an opportunity to resit either the report, computer-based assessment or both, depending on what was failed in the first attempt.

Formative Assessment

A strong emphasis will be made throughout the course on informal verbal feedback during practical sessions.


Each student will receive individual feedback and a mark for each task. Feedback will be provided as written comments. Groups will also be given generic feedback.

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