Survey and Monitoring for Biodiversity - HECO3030

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 4 15 (7.5) Jake Bicknell checkmark-circle


The broad aim of this module is to provide students with practical field experience in biodiversity monitoring and assessment methods. Specific aims are to introduce students to a range of basic field techniques and develop their skills in the collection, analysis and presentation of field data. The module provides an essential practical element of the Wildlife Conservation programme.

The module is spread over the term, allowing different groups of organisms to be examined as they become available for survey, and the dates may vary slightly from year to year. Groups of students will each undertake survey or monitoring projects under the supervision of a member of staff. Each project will assess the biodiversity of an appropriate taxonomic group (eg. birds, amphibians, reptiles, plants, etc.) in either a terrestrial or freshwater habitat. Students will be expected carry out a range of surveys, analyse the data and write-up their results.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 120
Total study hours: 150


BSc Wildlife Conservation
BSc Environmental Social Science
BSc Anthropology
BSc Biology
Also available as an elective module

Method of assessment

Assignment – Birds Practical write-up (33%)
Assignment - Wildlife Practical write-up (33%)
Assignment – Amphibians Practical write-up (34%)

Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework.

Indicative reading

Dytham, C. (2010) Choosing and Using Statistics: a Biologist's Guide, 3rd Edition. Wiley-Blackwell
Elzinga, C.L et al (2001) Monitoring Plant and Animal Populations: a Handbook for Field Biologists. Wiley-Blackwell.
Henderson, P.A. (2003) Practical Methods in Ecology. Wiley-Blackwell.
Krebs, C.J. (1999) Ecological Methodology, 2nd Edition. Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers.
Sutherland, W.J. (2006) Ecological Census Techniques: a Handbook, 2nd Edition. Cambridge University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Demonstrate an understanding of, and ability to apply, the principles underlying good survey design and analysis in biodiversity assessment.

8.2 Demonstrate a practical knowledge of principle survey methods required for assessing populations and/or diversity of several taxa.

8.3 Demonstrate an understanding of health and safety, biosecurity, ethical and animal welfare issues relating to field work involving the assessment of populations

8.4 Analyse and present data relating to the survey and monitoring of populations.

8.5 Write-up survey and monitoring data in the form of concise scientific reports.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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