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PL5001: PLANT ECOLOGY (2016-2017)

Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

Integrated lectures, field trips, data exercises and discussions provide a broad overview of theoretical plant ecology and its practical applications. You will participate in data collection in sand dune, heathland and woodland habitats and become familiar with a range of plant species. Key skills in vegetation survey, monitoring and research are taught. Class field data are used as the basis for understanding ecological processes and for learning vegetation analysis methods. You will practice writing skills in a data report and essay, supported by “clinics” and by individual help to students. Detailed feedback will help your writing in subsequent courses.

Course Details

Study Type Postgraduate Level 5
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Sarah Woodin

Qualification Prerequisites


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

  • One of MRes Ecology & Environmental Sustainability or MRes Applied Marine and Fisheries Ecology or MRes Environmental Science or MRes Soil Science or MSc Ecology & Environmental Sustainability or MSc Applied Marine and Fisheries Ecology or Master Of Science In Ecology & Conservation or MSc Forestry (Taught) or Master Of Science In Environmental And Forest Management or MSc Soil Science or MSc Environmental Science or MSci Biological Sciences
  • Either Any Postgraduate Programme (Studied) or BI4015 Grant Proposal (Passed)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • PL3804 Plant Ecology (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course provides a broad overview of plant ecology, considers the development of ecological theories and explores the applications of those theories for practicing ecologists today. Integrated field trips, data handling exercises, lectures and directed reading and discussions are used to cover the following topics: Community ecology – the nature of communities, succession, resource competition, community assembly; Description of communities – National Vegetation Classification, surveying, monitoring; Community analysis – descriptive statistics, ordination and its practical application in vegetation analysis; Modelling community change – descriptive and predictive models. The practical objectives of the course are to enable students to look at vegetation and ask pertinent questions about why it is like it is, to begin to interpret what they observe, to collect data to provide further answers, to use statistics and ordination methods in analysing such data, to set up vegetation research, survey and monitoring, and to write data reports and literature based essays.

Associated Costs


Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed

  • MRes Ecology & Environmental Sustainability
  • MSc Ecology & Environmental Sustainability
  • Master Of Science In Ecology & Conservation

Contact Teaching Time

76 hours

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

Teaching Breakdown


Continuous assessment (100%) based on an essay (60%) and a data report (40%).

Formative Assessment

Discussion of work with lecturer at essay and report clinics and feedback on essay plan from lecturer.


Extensive written comments on essay plan, essay and data report.

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