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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

Postgraduate Course: Ecosystem Resilience and Extreme Events (BIME11137)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course introduces the concept of ecosystem resilience and explores the impact of extreme events associated with climate change on ecosystems worldwide. Practical ways in which resilience can be studied and managed in real ecosystems will be introduced.
Course description The concept of ecosystem resilience will be introduced from a theoretical perspective and the drivers of resilience discussed. Students will be introduced to the techniques used to study ecosystem resilience in response to global change and discover ways in which ecosystems can be managed and restored to improve resilience. Topics covered include: ecosystem fragility and resilience, disturbances that can lead to changes in ecosystems will be described and the theoretical aspects of resilience and its drivers will be introduced; extreme events and impacts on ecosystems, examples of extreme events and their relationship with changing climate will be outlined. A global overview of impacts on ecosystems will be provided, with specific examples used to highlight 'at risk' areas and ecosystems; disturbance, thresholds and tipping points, these concepts will be introduced and illustrated with real world examples; the study of resilience and tipping points, How we can practically study these processes will be explained, with detailed descriptions of ecosystems and explanations of field techniques and analysis; managing for resilient ecosystems, an introduction to ecosystem restoration, with a specific focus on management of 'at risk' ecosystems and how resilience of these can be improved. Students will build confidence in discussing complex aspects of ecological theory and better understand the application of practical research and conservation methods.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Flexible
Course Start Date 05/08/2024
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Online Activities 25, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 53 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Formal summative written assessment will constitute 60% of the student's grade. Online assessment will incorporate a variety of activities will constitute 40% of their overall course grade and is taken to represent a formative assessment of learning throughout the programme.
Feedback Feedback will be provided by the course tutor throughout the course in the online discussion boards. Students will also receive formative feedback on each assignment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have a critical understanding of ecosystem resilience, from both a theoretical and a practical point of view.
  2. Critically evaluate the relationships between ecosystem complexity and resilience and be comfortable discussing and examining the various theories that describe these relationships.
  3. Synthesise and evaluate the relevant literature to understand the ways in which extreme events are driving changes in ecosystems.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of the practical ways in which ecologists can study ecosystem resilience and the response of ecosystems to extreme events.
  5. Have in-depth knowledge of restoration techniques and the impact that management can have on ecosystem resilience.
Learning Resources
Allesina, S. & Tang, S. (2012). Stability criteria for complex ecosystems. Nature 438, 205-208.

Smith, M. D. (2011). An ecological perspective on extreme climatic events: a synthetic definition and framework to guide future research. Journal of Ecology 99, 656-663.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course will provide opportunities for students to improve and develop their skills in critical analysis. Communication skills will be developed through discussion boards and by communication of research in a written assignment.
KeywordsClimate change,ecology,restoration,disturbance,tipping points
Course organiserMs Louise Beveridge
Course secretaryMr Andrew Le Tissier
Tel: (0131 6)51 4075
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