UCL Department of Geography
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Dr Jan Axmacher, Dr Simon Lewis & Dr Carl Sayer

Unit value: 0.5 units Year 2 Term 1

Brief Course Description

The course examines concepts in ecology relevant to geography, illustrated through examples from both terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and including both plants and animals.

Course Aims
1. To provide knowledge and understanding of ecological issues relevant to geography (patterns of speciation, niche concept, biogeography, community and ecosystem description and functioning)
2. To provide a basic training in practical ecological skills applicable to 3rd year dissertation work: sampling strategies, initial data analysis, interpretation and report writing
3. To develop research, comparative analysis and synthesis skills (coursepaper and exam)

Course Content
Subjects covered include: Species definitions, Ecological niche, dispersal and biogeography, biodiversity, interspecific interaction, productivity and ecosystem functioning, population and community ecology, succession, community description and ecological surveying

Method of Teaching
14 lectures
1 seminar session (student presentations, 2 hours)
1 day field class (Thursley Common, 8 hours)

Form of Assessment
One two hour written exam (60% marks)
One piece of written coursework (40% marks)

Pre-requisites and Relationship with Other Courses
Develops from 1st year Environmental Change.  Important background for 2nd year course in Reconstructing Past Environments GEOG2008 and Aquatic Biology BIOLC222.  Important background for 3rd year courses in Conservation Biology BIOLC321 and useful for Global Environmental Change GEOG3057.  Pre-requisite for 3rd year ecological dissertations.

Suggested Reading
Begon M., Harper J.L. & Townsend C.R. 2006. Ecology: From Individuals to Ecosystems. (recommended: 4th edition). Blackwell Science, Oxford.
Cox C.B. & Moore P.D., 2010. Biogeography: An Ecological and Evolutionary Approach. (recommended: 8th edition). Blackwell Science, Oxford.