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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Ecological Science

Undergraduate Course: Principles of Ecology (ECSC08006)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaEcological Science Other subject areaEnvironmental Courses
Course website Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionAn introduction to the factors determining the distribution and patterns of abundance of organisms, and which relate plant and animal populations to their environment. It includes the physiological ecology of plants and animals, the life history strategies by which organisms adapt to their environments, and the ecological significance of genetic variability. The importance of evolutionary history for understanding patterns of distribution will also be emphasised. A practical project report must be submitted as part of the course. The course will include basic statistical methods training.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 1, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Class Delivery Information Lectures: Mon, Thur, Fri (weeks 1-11)
Practicals: Wed (weeks 1-9)
Presentations: Wed (week 10)
Statical Methods training will be taught via 6 lecturers and 3 three hour practicals.
Course Start Date 16/09/2013
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 25, Dissertation/Project Supervision Hours 20, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 15, Fieldwork Hours 15, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 3, Formative Assessment Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 112 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 67 %, Coursework 33 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Principles of Ecology2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)Principles of Ecology2:00
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Students will develop a broad knowledge of the defining principles of ecology and will gain an understanding of the factors controlling the abundance and distribution of organisms globally. Students will be familiarised with the ecological theory explaining patterns of spatial and temporal variations in species numbers. Students will learn how to carry out a scientific research project related to an ecological question: they will learn how to formulate clear, precise and potentially answerable questions; to collect unbiased data; and to test hypothesese. The practical project will assess students' ability to use a range of techniques and to undertake critical analysis of mainstream concepts within Ecological Science.
Assessment Information
The course will be marked as 1/3 practical + 2/3 exam. Both practical and exam have a minimum pass mark of 40%. An overall aggregate mark of 40% is required.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Not entered
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list The following are generally useful as sources of first reference on many topics. They cost 20-35 each.
Begon, M., Townsend, C. R. & Harper, J. L. (2006). Ecology (4th edn). Blackwell Science, Oxford. (The recommended text for this course)

Townsend, C.R., Begon, M. and Harper, J.L. (2006). Essentials of Ecology (2nd Edition). Blackwell Publishing. (Highly recommended).

Colinvaux, P. (1993). Ecology 2. Wiley, New York. (Readable and very good on some aspects)

Krebs, C. J. (1994 & 2001). Ecology. (4th & 5th edns). Harper Collins, New York. (Good on animal populations)

Ricklefs, R. E. & Miller, G. L. (1999). Ecology. (4th edn). Freeman, New York.
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsPrinciples of Ecology
Course organiserDr Gail Jackson
Tel: (0131 6)50 5436
Course secretaryMs Meredith Corey
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430
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