ENVB40490 Tropical Field Ecology

Academic Year 2021/2022

This module involves a two week residential field course in Costa Rica run in the weeks preceding the start of the trimester. The field course will be followed by a series of theory and practical components delivered on campus. The aim of the module is to expose students to a species diverse ecosystem and develop skills in field sampling and monitoring, data handling and reporting. Field based exercises will be conducted to record biological and environmental data in a tropical forest which will be analysed during laboratory based sessions developing descriptive and analytical techniques required for reporting. Field exercises will develop a proficiency in the use of sampling equipment and a working knowledge of the design and implementation of a sampling program. Field and laboratory exercises will incorporate the collection and use of GIS information. The field based components are physically demanding and will require appropriate vaccinations. Students should in conjunction with this module take the QGIS module (ENVB40540:Ecological Mapping and QGIS) which runs in the first 4 weeks of the Autumn trimester.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Develop an understanding of tropical ecology; Develop species identification skills and a proficiency at using taxonomic keys; Understand how to design scientific monitoring programmes; Develop an ability to use field sampling equipment and conduct surveys of animals and plants; Develop an ability to manage and catalogue biological samples; Learn how to interpret environmental data; Preparing scientific reports on field collected data incorporating GIS information; Work in groups and communicating with colleagues; Assess risks and work safely in field environments.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Computer Aided Lab


Field Trip/External Visits




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Active/task-based learning during field work; group work; computer based tutorials; critical writing; reflective learning during field work; enquiry & problem-based learning. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

ZOOL20030 - Principles of Zoology
ENVB20050 - Principles of EnvBiol&Ecology

Learning Recommendations:

ZOOL30060 - Biogeography and Field Biology
ENVB30010 - Systems Ecology

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: Field based written and practical exam (2hrs - during field trip in August) Unspecified No Graded No


Assignment: Written reports (Weeks 6-10) Unspecified n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Engagement and participation in field exercises (During field trip in August) Unspecified n/a Graded No


Assignment: Field Note book (End of field trip in August) Unspecified n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Formative assessments will be provided during field work activities; general feedback on assignments will be provided to the group/class.

Name Role
Assoc Professor Tom Wilkinson Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.

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