This module will provide the learner with a detailed and holistic overview of life on earth and includes a range of subject matter including evolution, cell biology, anatomy and physiology, as well as behaviour, ecology and conservation. The module is supported by two practicals that aim to build core skills required within the field of biology including identification skills, field based sampling, and numerical skills.
Animal behaviour in conservation and welfare
This module assesses how animal behaviour is often the most significant cause of species declines and how understanding patterns of behaviour can assist in developing effective conservation and management strategies for species on the brink of extinction. Students will be introduced to the concept of conservation biology and the vast array of human-induced activities that currently threaten biological diversity on a global scale. There is a focus on the five main activities of conversational concern; fragmentation, habitat degradation, over-exploitation, invasive species and climate change. Examples will be provided from specific taxa affected. The shortfalls of in situ and ex situ are introduced and examples are provided of how behavioural studies and knowledge of animal behaviour can, and have been used within conservation.
The role of understanding behaviour in domestic animal's welfare is also introduced. Here students learn about the history and current UK policy on the use of farm and laboratory animals. Following that an insight is provided into how our domesticated animals perceive the captive environment and have developed behavioural mechanisms to cope with incarceration that can also be assessed to ensure sufficient welfare is provided.
Introduction to field ecology
This residential 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 temperate habitats and indicator species associated with them.
Mammalian Carnivore Ecology and Conservation
This course aims to explore the ecology and conservation of one of the most fascinating and iconic groups of extant animals. The charismatic appeal of most mammalian carnivores often overshadows their evolutionary significance and ecological importance. The course covers a wide variety of topics including predator-prey ecology, evolution of the modern mammalian carnivores, social and foraging behaviours, and disease. The module will also discuss the threats currently facing this group, and the global and local strategies that are attempting to halt the decline of many species.
Epidemiology of zoonotic diseases
The purpose of this module is to provide the learner with a detailed understanding and overview of notable infectious diseases with an emphasis on zoonoses. Diseases covered in this module may include Lyme disease,Toxoplasmosis, influenza, echinococcosis/Hydatid, Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Cryptosporidiosis and Rabies. Case studies will be used to illustrate key principles of disease epidemiology, pathogen detection,surveillance, risk assessment and control strategies in an applied context. This module would be of particular interest and utility for those learners who wish to pursue a career / further research in parasitological, medical and veterinary subjects
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.
Ecosystems: Ecology, Conservation & Resource Management
In this module, the students will learn to identify and understand the diversity and contrasting characteristics of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems with an emphasis on the origin and effects of various human-induced environmental impacts.