Undergraduate Course: Field Ecology (ECSC08007)
|School||School of Geosciences
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||***PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS COURSE NORMALLY RUNS BEFORE THE ACADEMIC YEAR BEGINS FOR RISING 2nd YEAR STUDENTS. DUE TO COVID-19 THE 2021/22 VERSION OF THE COURSE HAS NOT YET RUN. SEE FULL DETAILS EXPLAINED BELOW***
NB. This course will run twice at the end of the 2021-22 academic year (dates below): once for students who should have taken it at the end of the 2020-21 academic year (rising 2nd year students plus some others) and once for students who should ordinarily take it at the end of the 2021-22 academic year as credit for their 22/23 academic year (incoming 1st year students). ONLY STUDENTS WHO SHOULD HAVE TAKEN IT AT THE END OF THE 2020-21 ACADEMIC YEAR SHOULD REGISTER FOR THE COURSE FOR THE 2021-22 ACADEMIC YEAR. INCOMING FIRST YEAR STUDENTS SHOULD BE REGISTERED FOR THE COURSE IN THE 2022-23 ACADEMIC YEAR.
COURSE DATES: MONDAY 30TH MAY TO FRIDAY 10TH JUNE 2022 (excluding the weekend).
This 20-point level 8 course is compulsory for students of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, Ecology and Environmental Sciences with Management, and Biological Sciences (Ecology). All students will engage in a two week long field course. For students who should have taken the course at the end of the 2020-21 academic year (generally rising 2nd year students), the mark will be based entirely on in-course assessments. For incoming 1st year students, there will also be an extended assessment handed in during Semester 1 of the 2022-23 academic year.
Students on other programmes interested in taking Field Ecology at the end of the 2021-22 academic year, to count for credit in their 22-23 academic year, should contact the the course administrator before the end of February 2022 to register their interest in the course as additional places will be limited. FOR NON-GEOSCIENCES STUDENTS, THE £40 COURSE FEE MUST BE PAID BY 30th APRIL 2022 TO SECURE A PLACE.
The ability to identify organisms in the field, and to collect, organise and present ecological data, are essential skills for a professional ecologist. This course aims to develop those skills, taking place in and around the Edinburgh area. The course introduces students to the major habitats of Scotland and how to identify plants and animals in those habitats.
At the end of this course you should have a broad knowledge of how to apply a range of routine professional techniques employed in the study of biological organisms and ecosystems in the field. You will also gain detailed experience in methods of identification and classification of organisms.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
|Additional Costs|| £40 for students who are taking this course as an elective.
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
||Block 5 (Sem 2) and beyond
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 9,
Dissertation/Project Supervision Hours 1,
Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 29,
Fieldwork Hours 34,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Written Exam: 0%, Course Work: 100%, Practical Exam: 0%.
Intermittent (60%): There are four assignments that are completed during the running of the field course: the field notebook (30%), a guide to Scottish plants (15%), a key to Scottish trees (5%), and a data analysis exercise (10%). The latter two assessments are marked after the course ends and available to students when they return to university in the autumn. For students who should have taken the course at the end of the 20-21 academic session, 100% of their course mark will be based on these assessments.
Post-course (40%): Incoming 1st year students will also complete an ecological project over the summer and write up the results in standard scientific format. The report should be submitted online to Learn and any hard copy e.g. biological collections materials handed into the Course Administrator, Undergraduate Teaching Office, room 332, Grant Institute Building by 12 noon on the Wednesday of the second week of the first Semester 2022-23.
||Students will receive formative feedback from staff and demonstrators on their field notebooks during the first two days of the course. This will improve note taking and collecting of ecological data. The last six days of the field notebook will be marked and returned with feedback, along with plant guides, on the last day of the course. This will help students in successfully writing up their summer projects. Those projects will be handed in in the autumn, with detailed feedback given. During the course, students are constantly with staff members and demonstrators and receiving help and feedback on identifying natural organisms and collecting ecological data.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Identify common plant species, from herbs through to trees, in a variety of Scottish habitats
- Identify invertebrates in the field to the level of order
- Design and conduct simple surveys and field experiments in ecology
- Systematically collect ecological data
- Write up the results of simple ecological studies in a concise and informative manner
Mitchell, A. (1988) Trees of Britain and northern Europe. Collins, London.
Rackham, O. (1976) Trees and woodlands in the British landscape. Dent,
Rodwell, J. (1991). British Plant Communities. Volume 1, Woodland and
scrub. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Peterken, G.F. & Mountford, E.P. (1998) Long-term change in an unmanaged
population of wych elm subjected to Dutch elm disease. Journal of Ecology,
von Oheimb, G. & Brunet, J. (2007) Dalby Soderskog revisited: long-term
vegetation changes in a south Swedish deciduous forest. Acta Oecologia, 31,
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||Field course (no class delivery during semester time)
|Course organiser||Dr Kyle Dexter
Tel: (0131 6)51 7065
|Course secretary||Mrs Nicola Clark
Tel: (0131 6)50 4842