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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  Study  /  Graduate Taught  /  MSc Modules  /  GEOG0091 Wetlands

GEOG0091 Wetlands

Key Information

Credit value: 15

Level: Postgraduate (FHEQ Level 7)


This module is only available to Geography MSc students.

Intended teaching term: Term 2

Methods of assessment:
100% Monitoring plan (3,000 words)

Module leader: Julian Thompson

Who to contact for more information:



This module provides students with an introduction to a range of issues relevant to the management and conservation of wetland environments, with a specific focus on freshwater wetlands, in the UK and overseas.

The module aims to:

  • Outline wetland definition and classification schemes;
  • Introduce and exemplify the concept of wetland benefits;
  • Explore wetland hydrology and its controls on wetland hydrochemistry and ecology;
  • Illustrate the application of hydrological monitoring and modelling to enhance understanding of wetland functioning, assess impacts of climate change and anthropogenic impacts on wetlands and improve the management of wetland environments;
  • Illustrate issues with specific case studies from around the world

The wetlands module commences with an introduction to wetlands, their definition and classification. The concept of wetland benefits is introduced using international examples. The central role of hydrology within the functioning of wetlands is explored. Techniques used to monitor hydrological processes and conditions within wetlands are discussed whilst an account of the hydrochemical processes in operation within wetlands is provided. The role of hydrological modelling in enhancing understanding of wetland functioning, assessing impacts of climate change and anthropogenic interventions is discussed using specific examples. Water balance modelling applied to wetlands is introduced using a relatively simple practical based around the Stella systems modelling software. Issues of impact assessment including the application of modelling are discussed and illustrated. A range of issues are explored using examples of different wetland types and specific wetlands. These detailed examples include UK wet grasslands, SE Asian freshwater marshes and major African floodplains with a focus on the application of hydrological science, including modelling, to improve wetland management. The African example includes a practical exercise that demonstrates the use of Stella for the development of a more complex wetland hydrological model.