Please note this module descriptor is indicative of the structure of this course and may be subject to change.
The module covers the theory of Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) and ecological monitoring and applies theory to practice through fieldwork activities and laboratory practicals. This combined approach seeks to give students both conceptual knowledge and understanding, together with the skills needed to use techniques effectively and appropriately in practice. The knowledge and skills gained from this module can be used to support other modules and dissertations, while many also form key requirements for future ecology-related careers.This module provides good foundations for students wishing to go on to study NS6204 Pollution in Ecological Systems.
The module first establishes the legal and practical context of EcIA, using case studies to assist students in developing an understanding of the assessment process and identification of different types of impact. The need for, and effectiveness of, different ecological monitoring schemes is also considered. Landscape and habitat-level techniques, such as Phase 1 Habitat Mapping (P1HM) methods and National Vegetation Classification (NVC), are detailed. A range of methods for surveying different taxonomic groups (plants, terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, mammals and birds) is then considered. The role of indirect evidence (hair, footprints etc.) in EcIA will be examined. The module will conclude by considering the ways in which species can be used bioindicators of abiotic environmental conditions, and the effectiveness of such systems. Fieldwork activities and laboratory practicals form a key part of this module
A student passing this module should be able to:
1. Appreciate the legal and practical context of EcIA and ecological monitoring
2. Describe clearly and in detail the range of methods that could be used to survey different habitats or taxonomic groups; as well as being able to evaluate their relative advantages, disadvantages, and potential biases
3. Undertake an EcIA at a given site, using appropriate methods, to reach appropriate and justified conclusions about the impacts that are likely to result from a specific change in land use at that site
4. Bring theory and practice together to plan, implement and communicate the results of an EcIA of a particular site
5. Identify and justify suitable direct and indirect methods for use in a specific EcIA or ecological monitoring scheme and be able to apply some of these methods to survey habitats and species in practice
6. Adopt the role of an ecological consultant and respond clearly and completely to a consultant-style brief to develop a suitable monitoring scheme
A course map contains a list of the individual study units, called modules, that you study to complete your course. Some modules are compulsory, but you can sometimes choose modules outside your core area of study which interest you.
A module is a self-contained, individual unit of study. The module descriptor provides various details about the module including who the module tutor is, what you will be studying, how you will be assessed and what you will have learned once you have completed the module.
Course maps and module descriptors from previous years can be found in the Course Resources Archive.
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