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Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2022-2023

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

No such Code for prog: None

Department: Biosciences


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap 50 Location Durham
Tied to None


  • Level 2 Ecology BIOL2461.


  • • At least two other level 3 modules in Biological, selected from the following list: Advanced Topics in Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour BIOL3561, Conservation Biology BIOL3551, Ecology in the Anthropocene BIOL3541, Advanced Topics in Development BIOL3521, Stress and Responses to the Environment BIOL3491, Crops for the Future BIOL3611, Biochemistry and Biotechnology BIOL3601, Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering BIOL3531, Ageing and Age-Related Diseases BIOL3591, Advanced Cell Biology BIOL3481.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Level 3 Workshop (BIOL3581)


  • To allow students to undertake a series of practical exercises to investigate the influence of the environment on the distribution, adaptations and behaviour of plants and animals.


  • Field investigations of the impacts of a range of environmental parameters upon the distribution, adaptations and behaviour of plants and animals in their natural environment.
  • Training in application of data field-based techniques underpinning the above.
  • Field-application of organism identification and classification.
  • Analysis and interpretation of data collected in the field.
  • Training in health and safety aspects of fieldwork.
  • Project design and execution in a field environment.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of the application of a variety of fieldwork methods to investigate ecology and behaviour of plants and animals.
  • Knowledge of the role of the environment in determining the patterns of distribution of plants and animals, including organismal interactions and community structure.
  • Understanding of key issues related to the role of the environment in the adaptions and behaviour exhibited by plants and animals.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to undertake supervised field-based research and appreciate the importance of safe working practice in field environments.
Key Skills:
  • Literacy, in being able to consult and extract information from printed and on-line archives.
  • Data analysis, in interpreting the patterns of distribution and abundance of species, species’ ecology and behaviour, and the structure and composition of communities.
  • Communication skills, in presenting oral and written report.
  • Team work, in carrying out practical work in the field.
  • Self-motivation, in independent work on report.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Field Courses: extended experimental work in an area of biological sciences in which the student works as a member of a team. The course involves practically-based training in a residential setting. These courses are taught to smaller groups. The student is given the opportunity to gain experience of a range of practical techniques, often involving the use of state of the art equipment, and is required to produce an extended report involving data analysis.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Fieldwork 1 100
Tutorial 1 2 hour 2
Preparation & Reading 98
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Field note book 15% No
Field skills test 15% No
Fieldwork report 70% No

Formative Assessment:

Oral presentation of aspects of work undertaken during each day of the field course period, plus oral presentation of the findings of the group project undertaken.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University

If you have a query about a specific module or degree programme, please contact the appropriate department.

If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our FAQ webpage. If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the FAQ, or a query about the on-line Faculty Handbook, please contact us using the Comments and Questions form below.