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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Ecological Science

Undergraduate Course: Ecological and Environmental Science field course (including management) (ECSC10033)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe field course builds upon the skills and competences acquired by Ecological and Environmental Sciences students during previous field courses and lecture classes. The core element of the two components of the field course are the acquisition of skills in designing and conducting field sampling and monitoring projects; the acquisition of skills using field equipment.
Course description Dates for 2015/16: 5th-11th September in Oban; 14th-16th September in Edinburgh

Example 2014 Itinerary

0900 Arrive at Crew Building for loading
1000 Leave from Crew Building for Ormsary
1200 Arrive Loch Lomond Country Park
1300 Talk from the ranger
1600 Arrive at the Ormsary Estate
2000 Overview talk of the Knapdale area: ecology, impacts and issues

0900 Discussion of projects. Assembling equipment and visiting the field sites
1600 Presentation of plans for group projects
2000 Intro lecture to renewable resources

0900 Depart for wind farm
1000 Wind farm talk, site visit
1200 Packed lunch on site
1400 Group projects
2000 Free evening

0900 Group projects ALL DAY
2000 Introductory talk on marine sampling (SAMS)

0900 Meet at chalets for marine sampling prep
1000 Marine sampling/loch edge (SAMS)
1230 Packed lunch on site
1330 Group projects
1700 Free evening

0900 Depart for Taynish NNR
1000 Arrive Taynish NNR (SNH)
1200 Packed lunch on site
1400 Group projects

Project titles offered during the residential week:
1. Diversity and distribution of oak galls in relation to leaf shading and leaf size
2. Fungal biodiversity in native and plantation woodlands in relation to habitat
3. Spatial and temporal assessment of browsing damage by deer
4. Seed predation on Juncus by Coleophora alticolella
5. Assessment of differences in productivity across habitats
6. Effects of light availability and substrate type on forest natural regeneration
7. Effects of habitat type on bat activity
8. Comparison of small mammal activity in plantations and semi natural
9. Effects of water stress on leaf optical properties of plants of different
functional groups (bryophytes, ferns, mosses)
10. Detecting water stress using spectral measurements
11. Investigation of diagenetic alteration of saltmarsh organic matter
12. Characteristics of forest and grassland organic matter
13. Relationship between phosporus, iron and organic matter in organic-rich soils
14. Microclimate variability: investigation of small animal habitats
15. Spatial variation of irradiance on hill slopes
16. Wind power for rural communities

To gain competence in ecological and environmental field techniques and to apply these skills in field investigations, and through field visits with practitioners to gain an appreciation of the contexts and challenges of ecological and environmental management.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs 140
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 6, Dissertation/Project Supervision Hours 6, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 12, Fieldwork Hours 32, External Visit Hours 14, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 120 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Poster Conference: 20%, Field Project write-up: 40%, Essay: 40%
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To gain a comprehensive knowledge of the principles and some of the specialised skills of enquiry employed in ecological field work.
  2. To gain competence in the use of ecological and environmental field techniques and to apply these skills in field investigations.
  3. To execute a defined project of research and identify the relevant outcomes by appropriate statistical data analysis and interpretation. This will enable students to plan and practise in a context similar to those found at a professional level, which includes an element of unpredictability.
  4. An ability to communicate with professional level peers and senior colleagues and specialists will be developed through the peer-to-peer presentations and field visits with practitioners which will also enable students to gain an appreciation of the contexts and challenges associated with ecological and environmental management.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsField techniques,ecology and environment,populations,biodiversity,trace gases,micrometeorology
Course organiserDr Caroline Nichol
Tel: (0131 6)50 7729
Course secretaryMr Matthew Hathaway
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430
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