Biology A' Level and Transition to University
This course is designed for Biology students transitioning from A' Level to Higher Education, and will guide students through a series of tailored modules built around the WJEC Biology A' Level specifications. Each module covers information from across the curriculum, helping to link key biological concepts and build from core knowledge to more complex applications. The learning activities will consist of a short (10 ¿ 20 minutes) recorded or annotated lecture that will include self-assessment of understanding by a short quiz consisting of multiple-choice questions. Further on-line materials will be provided to assist students with learning independently. Personal support will be available through online tutor meetings at arranged time.
Botany and Ecology
Botany lectures cover the structure, life cycles and morphology of the major living Divisions of the Plant Kingdom. Floral structure, pollination, fruit dispersal and seed germination are discussed with particular reference to plant/animal interactions. This is followed by lectures that cover the basic anatomy of higher plants, from the cellular to the whole organism level. Lectures on plant physiology will emphasise flowering plants as whole organisms and concentrate particularly on plant-environment interactions. The topics covered are: photosynthesis; water relations; mineral nutrition; organic translocation; growth; developmental physiology. Aspects of plant ecology, plant-herbivore interactions and the importance of plants in medicine will also be covered. The lectures on plants are complemented by two laboratory practical sessions; Lower plant classification is studied by development of a dichotomous key; Basic anatomy and cell structure are studied microscopically; Physiological experiments illustrate aspects of plant water relations. Additionally, taxonomy and classification of species from the major divisions are studied by demonstrations displaying a wide range of specimens, along with examples of flower structure, pollination types and seed/fruit dispersal.
Ecology lectures cover the study of the interactions of organisms with their environment. The topic is divided into four key themes: the individual (conditions and resources, population distribution and abundance, population growth and regulation, population dynamics), species interactions (competition and predation), communities (patterns in space and time) and
ecosystems (flux of energy and matter, food webs and patterns in species richness). A field practical looking at individuals (adaptation to ecological conditions and species area relationships) will develop skills in species identification, ecological sampling and ecological data analysis.
A lecture in plant ecology draws these two concepts together.
Note - lectures here refer to material that is presented on Canvas pages and delivered as live in-person lectures.
This module provides a holistic approach to plant ecology, including both classical ecological theory and practical surveying techniques. Students will become familiar with six major themes; plant formations and biomes, synecology, autecology, plant geography, paleoecology and modern plant ecology. Students will also be trained in plant taxonomy, field surveying techniques, data analysis and report writing that complement a future career in ecology, conservation or consultancy
Introduction to field ecology
This field course comprises practical work employing ecological techniques appropriate to sample biodiversity and environmental parameters from a range of terrestrial and freshwater habitats (freshwater systems, woodlands, sand dunes). You will learn techniques for the identification of species, practice recording accurate field notes, and gain experience in the analysis and presentation of ecological data. Furthermore, you will be able to recognise different British temperate wildlife, habitats and indicator species associated with them.
This five-day course will be residential and delivered in Stackpole National Trust Field centre in September.
Climate Action Academy: Empowering Students to Offset Their Carbon Footprint
This course will provide students with the tools and information needed to understand and offset their carbon emissions whilst undertaking international fieldwork. This will be delivered by a variety of online methods, including recorded videos, quizzes, and interactive games.
The course will be divided into four main learning blocks:
- A brief introduction to the climate emergency based on current findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- Explore climate legislation at a national and local level, with a focus on Swansea University¿s commitments and pioneering technology.
- Exploring the carbon footprint, with an emphasis on international travel and dietary choices.
- Investigate the psychological impact of the climate emergency, including tools for self-help and available support.
- A bespoke carbon calculator to allow students to calculate their emissions and select what actions they will take to offset this.
-The course will finish with a pledge for students to commit to offsetting their emissions, which will be reviewed the following semester.
Tropical marine ecology field course
This field based module will provide students with an introduction to the ecology of tropical marine systems and teach students the key practical skills required by tropical marine biologists. Students will obtain training in how to design, implement and report scientifically robust marine research. The module will complement the level three marine field course and help develop key skills in field based marine biology. Students will learn skills in marine ecology and taxonomy, in-water marine sampling and surveys, and impact assessment.
This module will be mostly practical based but will also include theory lectures, workshops and feedback sessions. It would be structured around seven days of directed practical activities and a three day small group based mini-project. The field course will utilise snorkeling and intertidal walking as the major means of sampling throughout directed practicals.
Tropical marine ecology and conservation
This module will provide a holistic overview of the ecology and conservation of important marine ecosystems, and will place this information within the context of ecosystem services, and their value to humanity.
This module will consist of up to 12 lectures/seminars on the following topics:
¿ Diversity and biology of coral reef communities
¿ Structure and function of seagrass meadows (temperate and tropical)
¿ Mangrove forest ecology
¿ Connectivity across the tropical marine seascape
¿ The ecosystem services of tropical marine systems
¿ Response of coral reef systems to climate change and ocean acidification
¿ Degradation of tropical marine systems
¿ Resilience thinking and the management of tropical marine systems
The module also contains a workshop session and additional direct contact with the module lead lecturer.
Professional skills in conservation
This field based module will introduce students to the professional techniques utilised to monitor and study animals and plants in a variety of terrestrial habitat types and in relation to conservation management and biodiversity monitoring in the United Kingdom. The course places a strong emphasis on ecological census techniques and basic classification and taxonomy. Students will develop key techniques relevant to the environmental sector including Protected Species (specifically birds, amphibians, mammals, reptiles and plants), River and Phase 1 habitat surveys and Environmental Impact Assessment. Students will also learn about the biotic and abiotic factors that define different UK habitats and be introduced to the natural history of Wales. A focus is on developing key transferable skills that enhance employability such as problem solving, data analysis, report writing, evaluation, communication and teamwork.This module is therefore suitable for students wishing to pursue a career in ecological consultancy or conservation.
Biosciences Research Project
This module is designed to develop the research and/or survey skills of undergraduate students in Biology, Marine Biology and Zoology. It covers literature reviewing; research planning and experimental/survey design; safety assessment; data collection techniques; data analysis and presentation; critical evaluation; discussion of results in the light of published work; final report production and presentation of results at a research symposium.
Advanced Techniques in Biodiversity Assessment
This module aims to introduce advanced professional techniques in biodiversity assessment and management.
Students will learn how to use, interpret and evaluate appropriate metrics and methodologies to assess the impacts of new developments on biodiversity such as Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA), UK Habitat Classification, Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) and Environment Net Gain (ENG). Student will also learn the evaluation of ecological and broader environmental features as part of an economic valuation of the environment e.g. for ecosystem services assessment, natural capital valuation and/or environmental net gain.
This module provides students with highly employable skills within the environmental and conservation sector, aligning with the CIEEM's Competency Framework. While undertaking the module student will gain the experiences and develop a portfolio to allow them to apply for Qualifying Membership with the CIEEM.