Please note this module descriptor is indicative of the structure of this course and may be subject to change.
The module aims (i) to introduce students to the discipline of palaeoecology (ii) to distinguish its characteristics and practice from contemporary ecology; (iii) to acquaint students with a range of approaches and techniques for reconstructing past environments; (iv) by means of specific examples, to attempt reconstruction of past environments; (v) to discuss particular palaeoenvironmental events in more detail and to draw conclusions as to their relevance for contemporary environmental debates. This module provides an opportunity for students to be introduced to the theory and practice of palaeoecology - the science of reconstructing past environments using ecological data. The module puts current concerns such as acid rain, species extinctions, and global warming in context. This module builds on concepts covered in NS5205 Biogeography and complements those covered in NS6302 Climate Change.
This module takes students to research frontiers in the discipline and practice of Quaternary Palaeoecology. Students first learn the scientific approaches to palaeoecology (and how they differ from practice in ecology); a range of palaeo-ecological techniques is then introduced.The module involves the reconstruction of past environments from the period in which mammoths died out, ice sheets waxed and waned, and humans came to have significant impact upon vegetation and environment. It includes studies in applied palaeoecology focusing on current concerns such as pollution and acid rain, and species and habitatconservation.
1. Understand the reasons for differences in practice between palaeoecological and ecological investigation and demonstrate awareness of the limitations of palaeoecological data and interpretations
2. Critically discuss the need for precision and accuracy in scientific study
3. Demonstrate familiarity with a range of approaches and techniques for reconstructing past environments
4. Show awareness of the relevance of palaeoecological studies for contemporary environmental issues
5. Demonstrate skills of data interpretation, developed through discussions concerned with particular palaeoecological 'events'
6. Undertake critical analysis of concepts and ideas in palaeoecology and demonstrate an ability to apply understanding to contemporary issues such as 'Acid Rain' and 'Global Warming'
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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