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Biodiversity and Ecology

SDG 14
Dr Jessica Savage

Module Leader

Option - First year only for GSD single honours
Term 3 (Intensive)
10 x 1 hour lectures
10 x 2 hour seminars (field exercises)

Available to students outside GSD on application

Please note: The information on this page relates to the 2020-21 academic year.

Principal Aims

This module will offer an introduction to ecological principles and environmental experimental design to first year students enrolled on Global Sustainable Development single and joint honours degree programmes. With the understanding that many students will not have a background in biology or ecology, this module will provide the basic knowledge surrounding ecological principles, theories and applications to allow them to interpret and make connections between humans and the environment; from a global sustainable development context.

This module also aims to equip students with an understanding of experimental design, data collection techniques, and associated quantitative analysis. Students will complete a mini-research project; from the identification of a research gap, through to the write-up of a scientific paper.

Principal Learning Outcomes

Principal learning outcomes have two main focuses. Firstly, developing an understanding of ecological systems, and secondly building students experience in experimental design, data collection, analysis and reporting.

1. Following the completion of this module students should be able to interpret key factors of ecological system dynamics relating to species and habitat interactions, and how these relate to the sustainable use of natural resources.

2. By the end of this module, students should understand the positive and negative concepts surrounding environmental change, and its associated sustainable use, management, mitigation and monitoring.

3. Upon completion of this module the student should be able to apply key ecological principles and theories to real-world sustainability problems.

4. By the end of this module, students will have experience in the identification of a research gap, formulation of a research question, and subsequently how to appropriately design an appropriate research project.

5. Following this module students will be able to collect, store, analyse and interpret community data and understand the applications for the analysis of population dynamics and change and apply this to sustainability issues.

6. After completing this module students will be able to conduct basic quantitative statistical analysis on data sets and report that data effectively through the production of a scientific paper.

Employability Skills

Through this module, you will develop a number of different skills that are sought by employers which will support your professional development. We have highlighted this to enable you to identify and reflect on the skills you have acquired and apply them throughout your professional journey including during the recruitment processes whether this on an CV/application form or at an interview.

Field Work Research: Field research project design and management as well as real-world applications of ecological theories, hands-on survey experience, habitat assessment and mapping.

Data Analysis: Developing quantitative analysis techniques using software such as Excel and SPSS.

Written Communication: Acquired through disseminating knowledge through Scientific Journal Reports.


Coursework Online Multiple Choice Quizzes x 3 (20%)
Data Analysis worksheet (20%)
Group project proposal (20%)
Individual final report (40%)

  Please note: Module availability and staffing may change year on year depending on availability and other operational factors. The School for Cross-faculty Studies makes no guarantee that any modules will be offered in a particular year, or that they will necessarily be taught by the staff listed on this page.