BIOU7FC: Biology Field Course

COORDINATOR: Dr C.E. Timothy Paine
CONTRIBUTORS: Dr Kirsty ParkDr Matthew TinsleyDr Mario Vallejo-Marin

Course Description

This module includes a residential field component that takes place in the summer preceding the fourth year of study. The location of the course, timing, logistics and precise content may vary from year to year, and will be announced during an information meeting to which interested students will be invited early in their 5th semester. Students will be responsible for a deposit covering some of the operational, accommodation, and food costs of the course, which is to be paid in full by the end of the 5th semester. Students will also be responsible for their own travel costs to and from the field station. Upon completion of the field component students will write a report on their small group project as a scientific paper to be submitted early in their 7th semester regardless of whether the module code selected for timetabling purposes is 7FC or 8FC.

Course Objectives

  • To develop skills in hypothesis generation, experimental design, data collection, data handling, statistical analysis and data interpretation.
  • To gain experience in presenting scientific project work both orally and in the form of a paper.
  • To gain experience in teamwork over an extended period.
  • To provide students with the necessary skills for performing their final year Honours project.
  • To develop the skills required to carry out independent research.
  • To understand how to use taxonomic keys.
  • To develop skills in field techniques, including methods of collecting invertebrates, sampling methods and measurement of environmental variables.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understanding how to design and execute an independent biology field research project.
  • Enhanced practical skills in field biology, including the ability to use taxonomic keys and to identify insects to order and flowers to family.
  • Understanding how to present the results of an evolutionary or ecological research project both in the form of an oral presentation and a scientific paper.

Teaching Programme

  • There will be an assigned large group project lasting approximately four days and a small group research project developed by the students that lasts approximately six days.
  • There will be a series of lectures/demonstrations throughout the ten days on practical skills relevant to the projects. This will include lectures on taxonomic identification, statistical analysis, paper writing and presenting a scientific talk.
  • We may have the chance to hear special guest lectures from scientists doing research in the host country
  • There will also be demonstrations of various ecological sampling techniques.
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