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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

This course builds on theory studied at L2 and enables students to develop their experimental design, laboratory and data analysis skills whilst studying fundamental ecological principles such as herbivory, predation and competition. Students will keep detailed lab books to improve note-keeping skills and gain experience of analysing data generated from their own experiments as well as writing this up in a journal format. Use of model experimental systems will allow students to manipulate conditions to alter experimental outcomes and relate this to real-world settings.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Professor David Burslem
  • Dr Clare Trinder

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

  • One of BI2018 Biological Enhanced Skills Training (Best) (Passed) or BI2019 Community Ecology (Passed) or BI2020 Ecology (Passed) or BI2509 Conservation Biology (Passed) or BI25P3 Biological Topics in Plant and Soil Science (Passed) or BI25P4 Plants, People, and the Environment (Passed)
  • One of BSc Biology or BSc Conservation Biology or BSc Plant Biology or Non-Graduating Student in Plant & Soil Science Erasmus or BSc Zoology or BSc Animal Ecology or Non-Graduating Student in Zoology Erasmus or BSc Marine Biology or BSc Parasitology or BSc Animal Behaviour or BSc Behavioural Biology or MSci Biological Sciences or BSc Biological Sciences (Honours) or BSc Plant and Soil Sciences or Bachelor Of Science In Environmental And Forest Management or Non-Graduating Student in Agriculture and Forestry Erasmus or BSc Ecology or BSc Wildlife Management or BSc Forestry or Non-Graduating Student in Forestry Iss or BSc Forest Sciences or BSc Environmental Science or Non-Graduating Student in Science First Half-Session or Non-Graduating Student in Science Full Year or Non-Graduating Student in Science Eu or Non-Graduating Student in Science Iss
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4

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

Students will focus on practical aspects, carrying out at least two experiments during the course and undertaking various other aspects of experimental work, including consideration of hypothesis testing, experimental design, keeping detailed records of experimental work, data collection and synthesis, interpretation and integration of results with the literature. Students will be expected to work independently on some practical aspects, depending on the questions they choose to follow up. Theoretical concepts will be covered in compulsory seminars using case-studies.  Students will write up a detailed lab book which will be graded and comprise 10% of the course marks.

Associated Costs


Further Information & Notes

This course runs in weeks 25-35, and is unthreaded. The lab will be available for experimental work at various times each week within each thread to allow you to fit lab work around your other courses. Compulsory seminar classes are timetabled so that they don’t clash with thread 1 or thread 2 classes.

The lab will be available for experimental work at least 4 times each week; a weekly lab catch-up session will allow students to check details of experimental work with staff


Contact Teaching Time

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

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt

  • Lab book (10%)
  • Write-up of first experimental (45%)
  • Write-up of second experiment (45%)


  • Resubmission of any part of the course work which a student has failed.

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


  • Lab books will be graded (summative) and feedback provided so that students can improve their note and record keeping.
  • Students will be given feedback (formative) on experimental work as it progresses.

  • Written assignments (summative) will receive feedback.

Course Learning Outcomes


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