SCIU5T5: Field and Laboratory Techniques

CO-ORDINATOR: Dr Richard Quilliam 
CONTRIBUTORS: Dr Colin BullDr Peter HunterDr Kirsty ParkDr Jens-Arne SubkeDr Nils Bunnefeld, Prof David Copplestone, Dr Chris Wernham

Course Aims

To develop skills in: hypothesis testing & experimental design; field surveying; vegetation sampling; animal surveying; Geographic Information Systems (GIS); remote sensing; water analysis; designing and executing a small research project; oral and written presentation; team working.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the process of conducting hypothesis driven experiments
  • Proficiency in collecting field and laboratory data
  • Analysis and interpretation of results
  • Development of team working skills through group projects
  • Design and execution of a small research project
  • Written and oral communication skills

Acquired Skills

Field surveying; vegetation sampling; remote sensing, GIS & spatial analysis; water sampling & analysis or animal surveying; team working; hypothesis testing and experimental design; project management, design and execution; data analysis; report writing and oral presentation.

Course Structure and Timetable

Training in sampling techniques will be provided in lectures and practical sessions (laboratory, field and computer-based) and will be pursued further in the form of group projects during the semester. Projects will be chosen from a prescribed list and supervisors will give tutorials to provide guidance in completing project assignments.


20 % Group presentation on project - Group mark weighted for individual contribution.
50 % Individual, word-processed report on group project (2500 words max).
30 % Examination - 2 hour short-answer examination


Highly recommended for purchase:
Jones, A., Duck, R., Reed, R. and Weyers, J. (2000). Practical Skills in Environmental Science.
Prentice Hall.
Other useful texts in library:
Csuros, M. (1994). Environmental Sampling and Analysis for Technicians.
Goldsmith, B. (ed). (1991). Monitoring for Conservation and Ecology.
Sutherland, W.J. (ed). (1996). Ecological Census Techniques: A Handbook.
Williams, G. (1987). Techniques and Fieldwork in Ecology.
Heywood, I., Cornelius, S. & Carver, S. (2002) An introduction to Geographical Information Systems.
Campbell, J.B. (2002) Introduction to Remote Sensing
Southwood, T.R.E. & Henderson, P.A. (2000). Ecological Methods.
Dytham, C. (1999). Choosing and using statistics – a biologist’s guide.
Fowler, J. & Cohen, L. (1990). Practical Statistics for Field Biology.
Kent, M. & Coker, P. (1992). Vegetation description and analysis: a practical approach

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