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BI2020: ECOLOGY (2017-2018)

Last modified: 26 Feb 2018 17:01

Course Overview

A range of practical and workshop classes will enable you to consider information from lectures in more detail and develop ideas.

A range of types of continuous assessment allow you to consolidate learning throughout the semester.

Weekly opportunities to practice writing skills needed for the exam and regular feedback provided on writing exercises.

Detailed feedback on practical assignments will help you develop essential scientific writing skills

You will use Peerwise to write multiple choice questions, requiring thorough engagement with taught material and developing an extensive set of questions for use in revision

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 2
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study Yes
  • Dr Clare Trinder
  • Professor Michelle Pinard

Qualification Prerequisites


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

  • Either Programme Level 2 or Programme Level 3
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • One of BI1004 Organismal Biology (Passed) or BI1005 Organismal Biology (Passed) or BI1006 Biology for Undergraduates (Bugs) (Passed) or BI1007 Organismal Biology (Passed) or BI1008 Introduction to Biological Sciences (Passed) or BI1012 Diversity of Life 1 (Passed) or BI1508 Ecology and Environmental Science (Passed) or BI1509 Ecology and Environmental Science (Passed) or BI1511 Ecology and Environmental Science (Passed) or BI1512 Diversity of Life 2 (Passed)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • BI2019 Community Ecology (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The content reflects important topics in ecology, demonstrated with examples from plant, soil and marine systems. It features the following themes:

  1. The nature and description of ecological communities - terrestrial and marine.
  2. Community dynamics (disturbance, succession, regeneration and species coexistence) - terrestrial and marine examples.
  3. Trophic interactions (food webs, herbivory, parasitism, predation etc).
  4. Symbioses as case studies of community interactions: biological nitrogen fixation, mycorrhizas, cellular endo-symbionts.
  5. Biodiversity and ecosystem function.
  6. Community assembly and biogeography.
  7. Population dynamics
  8. Ecosystem processes
The content integrates in a critical manner these generic themes across different terrestrial and marine systems with the aim of developing a generic understanding of ecological processes. Topics typically include examples from each area, with a focus on similarities and differences between systems and an interrogative look at whether general rules apply in ecological systems within the context of environmental change, conservation and other contemporary relevant/associated themes that the students will expand on at later levels.

Associated Costs

Course practicals require the use of a lab coat which can be purchased locally for £15

Further Information & Notes

You need to have taken this course in order to take the following courses in third and fourth year:


Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed

  • BSc Behavioural Biology
  • BSc Biology
  • BSc Conservation Biology
  • BSc Ecology
  • BSc Environmental Chemistry
  • BSc Environmental Science
  • BSc Forest Sciences
  • BSc Forestry
  • BSc Marine Biology
  • BSc Plant and Soil Sciences
  • BSc Zoology
  • Bachelor Of Science In Environmental And Forest Management
  • Master of Chemistry (Environmental Chemistry)

Contact Teaching Time

48 hours

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

Teaching Breakdown


1st Attempt: 1 two-hour written exam (50%) / continuous assessment (50%).
Resit: Similar to 1st Attempt, with continuous assessment mark(s) and/or exam mark carried forward with an opportunity to resit exam and / or resubmit continuous assessment assignments, depending on which was failed in the 1st Attempt.

Formative Assessment


There will be feedback on weekly writing exercises carried out in lecture classes.


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.

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