Tropical Ecology and Conservation - DI535

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
6 15 (7.5) DR MJ Struebig

Pre-requisites

DI303 Survey and Monitoring for Biodiversity
DI505 Conceptual Frameworks in Conservation Science
DI508 - Skills for Conservation Biologists

PLEASE NOTE: Students who register onto this module and complete the field trip are expected to remain on the module. Consequently, students who drop the module after completing the field trip will be required to repay the school subsidy incurred for the trip.

Restrictions

None

2017-18

Overview

This residential module is designed to provide students with first-hand experience of ecological processes, biodiversity and conservation issues associated with humid tropical environments. Tropical rainforests are the most biologically diverse habitats on Earth and the loss of rainforest is of tremendous conservation concern, both due to loss of diversity as well as its consequences for global warming. Topics to be covered in the curriculum include:

  • Ecological processes and services in tropical rainforests including nutrient cycling, decomposition, pollination and seed dispersal.
  • Rainforest structure and defining characteristics of pristine and disturbed habitats.
  • Rainforest community ecology and tropical forests as centres of ecological diversification and biodiversity.
  • Practical training in ecological techniques and survey methods for a range of terrestrial taxonomic groups.
  • Anthropogenic factors affecting rainforests including logging, fragmentation, global warming & agriculture.

  • The module will take place in a field studies centre at a rainforest location where there is an adequate infrastructure to ensure an acceptable standard of logistical support and health and safety conditions. Students will spend time working in forest and non-forest systems, and there will be an emphasis on practical training in ecological survey and assessment methods. Teaching on conservation will be integrated with short visits to surrounding sites to gain direct appreciation of the issues, problems and solutions surrounding rainforests and their wildlife.

    Participation in the module will be dependent on maintaining a clean disciplinary record during registration on the degree programme prior to the module. These requirements may be waived in individual cases at the discretion of the module and programme convenors where we judge that there is a strong case for allowing the student onto the module.

    Details

    This module appears in:


    Contact hours

    The main taught component of the module will be delivered on location during an intensive field study of approximately 11 days.

    Formal contact time will vary according to logistical factors but will comprise approximately 88 hours (including 4 hours in Canterbury meetings), to include:
    • Lectures (12 contact hours)

    • Field practicals in groups (4-5 students) (approximately 32 hours)

    • Additional group activity work and presentations (2-3 students) during the field-course (approximately 40 hours)
    • Pre- /post trip meetings for preparation and coursework discussion (4 hours)

    Availability

    The module will be offered to Stage 3 students and taught in the summer vacation, between Stages 2 and 3. Credit will be awarded in Autumn term at Stage 3.

    Method of assessment

    100% coursework

    • A field notebook (15%)
    • A group presentation (15%)
    • 2 practical reports (70% - 35% each)

    Preliminary reading

    DI303 Survey and Monitoring for Biodiversity
    DI505 Conceptual Frameworks in Conservation Science
    DI508 - Skills for Conservation Biologists

    See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

    See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

    Learning outcomes

    1. Gain in-depth knowledge and experience of the characteristics and ecological processes that define tropical rainforests (including nutrient cycling, decomposition and pollination), as well as the characteristics of disturbed tropical forests and the breakdown of ecological processes within these habitats.
    2. Understand the importance of tropical forests as centres of biodiversity and ecological diversification.
    3. Gain theoretical and direct experience of the major conservation issues surrounding rainforests, and evaluate ways by which environmental impacts on tropical habitats can be mitigated.
    4. Gain practical and analytical skills concerning ecological survey techniques and assessment methods for a range of tropical biota, which can also be applied to other ecosystems.

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