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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
SummaryThis course will help to prepare students to be practicing ecologists and environmental scientists capable of working effectively within a professional setting, evaluating and communicating scientific evidence to a range of academic, professional and lay audiences. It will focus on developing essential transferable skills, ranging from scientific writing and presentation to critical thinking and introduce students to case studies of professional practice. In addition, the skills developed during the course will help to equip students to deliver an outstanding honours project.
Course description The course comprises three elements:
(i) A three-day statistics workshop
Dates: Monday 30th May to Wednesday 1st June 2022
Statistics and experimental design skills needed to design the field course project and analyse the data will be taught. These skills will also be of use to students undertaking their dissertation fieldwork during the summer vacation.

(ii) A residential field course
Dates: Saturday 3rd to Friday 9th September 2022
The field course is based just outside Oban. It builds on the skills and competences acquired by Ecological and Environmental Sciences students during previous field courses and lecture classes. The core elements of the field course are the acquisition of skills in designing and conducting field projects and the acquisition of skills using field equipment. Students choose one group project and carry out it out over the course of the week. Advice will be provided by staff and PhD student demonstrators. Visits to places of ecological and environmental interest are scheduled throughout the week.

Project titles:
Project 1. The effect of stream water quality on aquatic invertebrate abundance and diversity.
Project 2. Mitigating the leaching of nutrients and trace metals in coniferous forest soils.
Project 3. Can we characterise molecular level differences between forest and grassland soil organic matter?
Project 4. Plant and invertebrate richness across a disturbance gradient.
Project 5. The relationship between understorey plant diversity and woodland tree canopy characteristics.
Project 6. How does habitat affect small mammal populations?
Project 7. Relationship between invasive plant species and the environment

(iii) Data analysis, poster creation and poster presentation
Dates: Monday 12th to Wednesday 14th September 2022
Data collected during the residential field course will be analysed and a group poster created. The poster will be presented to the class for assessment from 2 - 4pm on the Wednesday.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, 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) Assessment details
Coursework 100%
Statistics Assessment: 40%, Poster Conference: 20%, Field Project write-up: 40%

Assessment deadlines
Field project poster (worth 20%) by Tuesday at 5pm of Week 0.
Statistics workshop assessment (worth 40%) by 12 noon on Friday of Week 2.
Write up of the field project (worth 40%) by 12 noon on Friday of Week 3.

Feedback Examples of feedback can be found here:
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Be able to define hypotheses and design a sampling strategy and methodology to complete a field research project.
  2. Have a comprehensive knowledge of the principles and some of the specialised skills of enquiry employed in ecological and environmental fieldwork.
  3. Have gained competence in the use of ecological and environmental field techniques and know how to apply these skills in field investigations.
  4. Be able 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.
  5. Have an ability to communicate with senior colleagues and specialists through presentations and subject specific meetings with practitioners. This will 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
Special Arrangements All details related to extensions procedures and late penalties can be found in the School of GeoSciences General Information Handbook.
KeywordsField techniques,ecology and environment,populations,biodiversity,trace gases,micrometeorology
Course organiserDr Gail Jackson
Tel: (0131 6)50 5436
Course secretaryMiss Francesca Nadal Finnegan
Tel: (0131 6)50 4842
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