Module BNS-3000:
Wildlife Ecol & Conservation

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Simon Valle

Overall aims and purpose

This module is designed to ensure students have a thorough understanding of the underlying ecological theories that relate to wildlife conservation, the methods used to test those theories, and the analysis and presentation of data. The module will draw on wildlife examples from around the world to reinforce knowledge of ecological theories. Students will collect data during field trips to the Bangor Waterfront, Henfaes Agricultural Station and analyse these data with support in computer laboratories. They will also acquire further practical and real-life skills during two field trips i.e. Treborth Botanical Gardens and Chester Zoo

This module extends the basic theoretical grounding students receive in Principles of Conservation, but uses a student-centred learning process to allow students to delve deeper into the details of particular ecological theories.

Course content

This module will allow students to explore key concepts and theories of wildlife ecology as they relate to conservation. Amongst other topics, the module addresses drivers of animal distribution, foraging theory, niche theory, vulnerability to extinction, the role of apex predators, trophic interactions and spatial ecology. The module will also give students practical skills of survey techniques and data analysis, as well as the opportunity to discuss with an expert about the role of zoos in conservation (i.e. visit to Chester Zoo). The lectures are accompanied/complemented by field trips to Bangor Pier, Henfaes farm, Treborth Botanic Garden and Chester Zoo. The data collected during the first two trips will be statistically analysed in dedicated computer sessions and reported on via an assessed group presentation.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

Quiz: Students should be able to identify at least half of the ecological theories relevant to conservation from four choices.

Field trip group presentation: - Limited focus on the topic; - Scant background information; - Little evidence of understanding the model selection methods and AIC; - Limited understanding of occupancy/detectability/population estimation (whichever is relevant); - Weak use of literature and examples; - Limited use of visual aids; - Limited group contribution; - Poor time keeping; - Limited ability to answer questions.

Project proposal: Average standard of written English. Aims and hypotheses poorly defined. Methods poorly described. Weak evidence of an understanding of the theory being investigated, statistical tests/methods used and of additional reading/attempts at a more thorough use of these methods. Arguments within the Discussion are barely relevant and do not address the aims/hypothesis. Limited evidence of additional reading and interpretation. Poor referencing.

good

Quiz: Students should be able to identify at least two thirds of the ecological theories relevant to conservation from four choices.

Field trip group presentation: - Direct focus on the topic; - Reasonable background information; - Some evidence of understanding the model selection methods and AIC; - Some understanding of occupancy/detectability/population estimation (whichever is relevant); - Appropriate use of literature and examples; - Good quality use of visual aids; - Adequate group contribution; - Acceptable time keeping; - Competent ability to answer questions.

Project proposal: Good standard of written English. Aims and hypotheses adequately defined. Methods adequately described. Some evidence of an understanding of the theory being investigated, statistical tests/methods used and of additional reading/attempts at a more thorough use of these methods. Arguments within the Discussion are relevant and could be used to address the aims/hypothesis. Some evidence of additional reading and interpretation. Good referencing.

excellent

Quiz: Students should be able to identify at least 90% of the ecological theories relevant to conservation from four choices.

Field trip group presentation: - Excellent focus on the topic; - Strong background information; - Clear evidence of understanding the model selection methods and AIC; - Strong understanding of occupancy/detectability/population estimation (whichever is relevant); - Excellent use of literature and examples; - High quality use of visual aids; - Great group contribution; - Precise time keeping; - Confident and knowledgeable question answers.

Project proposal: Excellent standard of written English. Aims and hypotheses clearly defined. Methods clearly and briefly described. Clear evidence of an understanding of the theory being investigated, statistical tests/methods used and of additional reading/attempts at a more thorough use of these methods. Arguments within the Discussion are logical and used to address the aims/hypothesis. Clear evidence of additional reading and interpretation. Excellent referencing.

Learning outcomes

  1. Critical knowledge and understanding of the key ecological theories that relate to wildlife conservation.

  2. Understanding and ability to use some common methods used to test ecological theories of wildlife conservation.

  3. Application of principles of ecological sampling and field survey design to wildlife conservation research questions.

  4. Ability to think and react to changing field conditions and understand the implications of this to the results obtained.

  5. Ability to conduct and critically interpret statistical analysis of ecological data.

  6. Ability to write a scientific study with a logical, coherent, well-structured, evidence-based and fully referenced argument.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
CLASS TEST Quiz 20
WRITTEN PLAN Project Proposal 50
ORAL Group Talk 30

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study

Unsupervised private study will be important for you to thoroughly understand the theories discussed and the methods used to assess them. This will be beneficial for your final assessment (project proposal), and your interaction in class and via the Discussion Group (on the Blackboard page) will allow formative feedback on your research ideas. There is an extensive Reading List associated with this module to direct your private study, but you will also need to look at the most recent journal articles for other examples beyond those I’ve provided.

156
Fieldwork

Field trips will also be used to reinforce some key theories in conservation ecology, and some of the primary methods you should know. These will also give you practice in field techniques and overcoming some of the problems that arise in the field.

21
Workshop

The assessed field trips will be coupled with two hours of taught and two hours of drop-in computer labs. Detailed run-throughs of the modelling techniques have been prepared, and most students in previous years have managed to obtain accurate answers from these run-throughs. Hence, the drop-in sessions are only necessary for those who have been unable to obtain answers via the written run-throughs provided.

4
Lecture

The module will be structured around lectures that will introduce an important theory in ecology that relates to conservation, and then present examples of how the theory has been tested, and some methods used to test the theory. You will be presented with a question at the end of each lecture about describing a study to test the theory or an aspect of it. We will discuss this at the start of the following lecture. It is really up to you to get the most out of this as it is essentially an opportunity to brainstorm idas for your end of year project proposal assessment. The more effort you put into answering these questions, the easier your project proposal will be.

19

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Develop and identify research question(s) and/or hypotheses as the basis for investigation.
  • Conduct fieldwork and/or laboratory work competently with awareness of appropriate risk assessment and ethical considerations
  • Recognize and apply appropriate theories and concepts from a range of disciplines.
  • Apply subject knowledge to the understanding and addressing of problems.
  • Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
  • Awareness of the concepts of spatial and temporal scale in understanding processes and relationships.
  • Engagement with current developments in the biosciences and their application.
  • Undertake field and/or laboratory studies of living systems.
  • Undertake practical work to ensure competence in basic experimental skills.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of risk assessment and relevant legislation

Resources

Resource implications for students

Nil

Talis Reading list

http://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/bns-3000.html

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: