Module title: Ecological Field Studies

SCQF level: 09:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: ENV09107
Module leader: Linda Gilpin
School School of Applied Sciences
Subject area group: Animal and Plant Science

Understanding of evolutionary processes, taxonomy, data presentation and statistical analysis.

2019/0, Trimester 1, FACE-TO-FACE,
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: FACE-TO-FACE
Location of delivery: SIGHTHILL
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Linda Gilpin
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
This module is focussed on team working and the development of practical skills. There will not be regular weekly sessions throughout the trimester. Rather, there will be 2 periods of intensive practical work; one based in Edinburgh and the other at a residential field station. The class will work together to study the ecology of the sedimentary habitat of the Firth of Forth. This will involve a field sampling event followed by a series of subsequent lab and data handling sessions over the course of a week (contingent upon the tides and practical constraints). During the field course element, the class will explore other aspects of intertidal ecology including on rocky substrates. Students will then work in small groups of 4 or 5 to design (LO1) and undertake (LO2) a project over several days, exploring temporal, spatial or behavioural ecological aspects. Assistance with data analysis (LO3) will be available, both face to face and using on-line resources developed by staff. The field course will culminate with a series of group oral presentations (LO5) with feedback from staff and students designed to aid interpretation of the results (LO4) as required in the written assessment. Identification skills will be developed in relation to the organisms collected in the various habitats sampled as part of the entire module eg rocky shore, sandy shore, seabed, water column (LO6).

Formative Assessment:
The group project undertaken during the field course element of this module will lead to data analysis and a group presentation on the final day of the trip. Oral feedback received on this presentation during the session and followed up in a written or audio format, will inform the summative assessment to follow. Sample online ID questions will be made available.

Summative Assessment:
An online ID test under exam conditions will include organisms sampled during the module (LO6). Each student will produce an individual report based on their group project (LO1,2). This will be informed by the feedback received on their presentation (LO5), a workshop on the expected report format and on-line material. The report will include the use of an abstract as well as the standard I, M, R, D format and will take the form of a scientific paper in order to develop skills in concise scientific writing (LO3,4,5).

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Lecture 2
Face To Face Groupwork (Scheduled) 9
Face To Face Fieldwork 43
Face To Face Practical classes and workshops 10
Independent Learning Guided independent study 136
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Class Test 15 6 6 HOURS= 01.00
Project - Written 85 1,2,3,4 & 5 9 HOURS= 00.00, WORDS= 2000
Component 1 subtotal: 15
Component 2 subtotal: 85
Module subtotal: 100

Description of module content:

This module will take a practical approach to extend your knowledge and understanding of ecological principles including: the dynamics and processes which determine species’ distribution and abundance; the role and importance of these processes in different communities; different types of population interactions; and the description of population and community structure. It is built around two intensive periods of field/lab work, one based in Edinburgh and the other at a residential field centre. At both locations you will participate with the entire class to gather sufficient data to identify typical organisms and explore several ecological concepts. In addition, you will work with a small team to design a research project based on a relevant ecological question. You will have three days in which to collect and analyse the data and give an oral presentation of the findings, so the design should be of sufficient depth and breadth to make the most of the time available. Feedback on the presentation should inform your final written report of the project.

Learning Outcomes for module:

LO1: Formulate and apply a problem solving approach to design a practical research project in ecology
LO2: Employ group working skills in an extended group research project
LO3: Collect, collate and analyse data with suitable methods and procedures.
LO4: Utilise appropriate, current literature to critically interpret and discuss the results of the research project.
LO5: Develop and utilise communication skills to present the project results both orally and in written form
LO6: Demonstrate identification skills for organisms from a series of marine habitats

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:

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