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PL5001: PLANT ECOLOGY (2018-2019)

Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

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 becoming 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 helps 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

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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, community assembly, applications in habitat management; Description of communities – National Vegetation Classification, surveying, monitoring; Community analysis – descriptive statistics, ordination and its practical application in vegetation analysis. 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


In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

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

Teaching Breakdown

  • 4 Computer Practicals during University week10
  • 1 Computer Practical during University week11
  • 1 Field Course during University weeks 7 - 8
  • 2 Field Courses during University week9
  • 2 Science Laboratories during University week7
  • 1 Science Laboratory during University weeks 8 - 9
  • 1 Lecture during University weeks 7, 9 - 11
  • 2 Lectures during University week8
  • 1 Seminar during University weeks 10 - 12

More Information about Week Numbers

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

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

Resit: Resubmission of failed individual elements of continuous assessment

Formative Assessment

Discussion of work with lecturer at essay and report clinics and in workshop on practical applications.


Extensive written comments on essay first draft, full essay and data report.

Course Learning Outcomes


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