Modules for course C100 | BSC/B
BSC Biology

This is a provisional list of modules to be offered on this course in the 2019–20 academic year.

The list may not be complete, and the final course content may be different.

You can also view the modules offered in the years: 2017–18; 2018–19.

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Year 1 Modules

Compulsory Modules

Semester 1

  • BNS-1002: Organismal Diversity (20)
    All major groups of living organisms will be reviewed, from viruses, bacteria, protists, fungi and higher plants to invertebrate and vertebrate animals. General taxonomy, body form, physiology and life history will be studied to give an appreciation of the multiple aspects of biodiversity.
  • BNS-1004: Principles of Life 1 (20)
    The Chemistry of Life. (17 lectures) Metabolites in the service of man. From vitalism to the metabolome. The molecular origin of life. Molecular building blocks and their properties. Metabolic networks and key metabolic pathways. Enzyme thermodynamics. Protein properties and functions. The Molecular Basis of Inheritance. (13 lectures) Nucleic Acids: Structure and Function. DNA and RNA as molecules of heredity: Structure of the double helix; Base pairing rules. Genomic and in vitro DNA replication. Transcription. Synthesis of mRNA. Promoters and Terminators. Post-transcriptional processing and regulation. Translation: Overview of protein synthesis: Ribosomes as "protein factories". Post-translational processing and targeting. Principles of Genetic Engineering. An introduction to recombinant DNA technology. Topics covered include cloning, strategies; the use of plasmid and bacteriophage vectors, transformation of cells with foreign DNA, construction and screening of gene libraries and the polymerase chain reaction. The lectures will end with an examination of two well known examples of plant and animal genetic engineering. The Cell (8 lectures) The Cell Concept; cell types and variety; membrane systems structure and function; membrane transport and receptor systems; cytoskeleton, cell junctions and extracellular matrix; cell cycles and apoptosis.
  • BSX-1028: Tutorials Year 1 (20) or
    BSC-1028: Tiwtorialau Blwyddyn 1 (20)
  • BSX-1030: Practical Skills 1 (20)

Semester 2

  • DNS-1003: Ecology & Evolution (20)
  • BNS-1004: Principles of Life 1
    The Chemistry of Life. (17 lectures) Metabolites in the service of man. From vitalism to the metabolome. The molecular origin of life. Molecular building blocks and their properties. Metabolic networks and key metabolic pathways. Enzyme thermodynamics. Protein properties and functions. The Molecular Basis of Inheritance. (13 lectures) Nucleic Acids: Structure and Function. DNA and RNA as molecules of heredity: Structure of the double helix; Base pairing rules. Genomic and in vitro DNA replication. Transcription. Synthesis of mRNA. Promoters and Terminators. Post-transcriptional processing and regulation. Translation: Overview of protein synthesis: Ribosomes as "protein factories". Post-translational processing and targeting. Principles of Genetic Engineering. An introduction to recombinant DNA technology. Topics covered include cloning, strategies; the use of plasmid and bacteriophage vectors, transformation of cells with foreign DNA, construction and screening of gene libraries and the polymerase chain reaction. The lectures will end with an examination of two well known examples of plant and animal genetic engineering. The Cell (8 lectures) The Cell Concept; cell types and variety; membrane systems structure and function; membrane transport and receptor systems; cytoskeleton, cell junctions and extracellular matrix; cell cycles and apoptosis.
  • BSX-1028: Tutorials Year 1 or
    BSC-1028: Tiwtorialau Blwyddyn 1
  • BSX-1031: Practical Skills 2 (20) or
    BSC-1031: Practical Skills 2 (20)

Year 2 Modules

Compulsory Modules

Semester 1

  • BNS-2002: Evolution & Genetics (20)
    Evolution by natural selection, heredity, genetic variation, the Hardy Weinberg model, gene flow, random genetic drift and selective processes, population differentiation, taxonomy and biodiversity, micro- and macro-evolutionary processes. Specific attention is paid to the design of field and experimental studies using a range of case studies to elucidate the drivers of evolutionary change.
  • BSX-2019: Principles of Life 2 (20)
    The lectures build on the 1st year "Cellular and Molecular Biology" module. They discuss DNA, RNA, proteins (including enzymes), metabolism and valuable metabolites in more detail. Subjects covered are: DNA replication, stability and inheritance; transcription and translation; post-translational modification of proteins; genome organisation; techniques utilised for the study of DNA, RNA and proteins. Biochemical topics include structure/function relationships, enzyme mechanisms, bioenergetics, metabolism and valuable metabolic products. The applied molecular biology practicals are designed to give experience in applied molecular methodologies covering a range of key technologies (isolation of human DNA from cheek cells, restriction enzyme digestion of DNA, agarose gel electrophoresis, the polymerase chain reaction, and the use of PCR to identify introns). The applied biochemistry practicals consist of two 3 hour practicals on enzyme kinetics, and will include a replication of the Jacob-Monod experiment, time courses to demonstrate vo = f[E] and replication of the Michaelis-Menten experiment.
  • BSX-2021: BioScience Skills (20)
    The module will be delivered in four key components: 1. Public understanding of Science (critical thinking). Studies will undertake a range of exercises, including computer-based learning, where they will critically review scientific articles from a variety of sources (TV, media, scientific journals, blogs). Students will consider; errors in scientific literature; scientific methodology; experimental design; use and abuse of statistical results; erroneous and misleading presentation of results; the quality of different sources of information. Topics may include climate change, alternative medicine, creationism, health and disease. Students will also take part in group discussions, debates and write scientific blogs. 2. Scientific writing (literacy skills) Students will attend a 1-hour introductory lecture on scientific writing. A list of degree programme and subject-specific essay titles will be made available on Blackboard. Students will choose one essay title to complete. Computer assisted learning (CAL) - a comprehensive suite of supporting materials will be made available for students on the Blackboard site (e.g. tips on how to write essays, grammar and comprehension, referencing and example essays). 3. Problem-based learning (creative thinking) Delivered as 2 x 1-hour workshops (in groups of ca. 8) with a member of academic staff or trained postgraduate demonstrator and a 2-hour mini conference in which 5 groups will convene to provide a 10 minute oral presentation (with questions) on their project. Students will be provided with a real-life scenario (degree programme and subject-specific) ahead of the first workshop. Students will be asked to; consider interesting research questions; frame hypotheses; design appropriate tests for hypotheses; consider data collection and analysis; consider possible interpretations and future research avenues. These will be discussed in the workshops. 4. Planning for 3rd year project (practical/planning skills) Interaction between student and academic project supervisor in up to 3 x tutorial sessions. Tutorial sessions will identify the specific aim and objectives of the project and develop a project plan.

Semester 2

  • BSX-2021: BioScience Skills
    The module will be delivered in four key components: 1. Public understanding of Science (critical thinking). Studies will undertake a range of exercises, including computer-based learning, where they will critically review scientific articles from a variety of sources (TV, media, scientific journals, blogs). Students will consider; errors in scientific literature; scientific methodology; experimental design; use and abuse of statistical results; erroneous and misleading presentation of results; the quality of different sources of information. Topics may include climate change, alternative medicine, creationism, health and disease. Students will also take part in group discussions, debates and write scientific blogs. 2. Scientific writing (literacy skills) Students will attend a 1-hour introductory lecture on scientific writing. A list of degree programme and subject-specific essay titles will be made available on Blackboard. Students will choose one essay title to complete. Computer assisted learning (CAL) - a comprehensive suite of supporting materials will be made available for students on the Blackboard site (e.g. tips on how to write essays, grammar and comprehension, referencing and example essays). 3. Problem-based learning (creative thinking) Delivered as 2 x 1-hour workshops (in groups of ca. 8) with a member of academic staff or trained postgraduate demonstrator and a 2-hour mini conference in which 5 groups will convene to provide a 10 minute oral presentation (with questions) on their project. Students will be provided with a real-life scenario (degree programme and subject-specific) ahead of the first workshop. Students will be asked to; consider interesting research questions; frame hypotheses; design appropriate tests for hypotheses; consider data collection and analysis; consider possible interpretations and future research avenues. These will be discussed in the workshops. 4. Planning for 3rd year project (practical/planning skills) Interaction between student and academic project supervisor in up to 3 x tutorial sessions. Tutorial sessions will identify the specific aim and objectives of the project and develop a project plan.

Optional Modules

60 credits from:

  • DXX-2003: Principles of Conservation (20) (Semester 1)
    • The need for nature conservation and the nature of conservation • Patterns of global biodiversity • Extinction crisis and habitat loss • Small population biology • Harvesting theory • Invasive species control •Strategies for Ex situ conservation • Species reintroductions • The need for habitat conservation • Island biogeography • Selecting sites for protection • Managing protected areas • Integrating social and economic factors in conservation • Responding to climate change and pollution
  • MSE-2014: Human Immunology (10) (Semester 1)
    This module describes the structure and function of the human immune system and its role in health and disease. The innate and adaptive immune responses are discussed, the type of cells involved and how they interact; these include T and B cells, natural killer cells, macrophages, polymorphs and dendritic cells. The structure and function of lymphoid organs is explained, including the ontogeny and migration routes of cells of the immune system. The receptor and signal mechanisms of the immune response are detailed; these include the structure and function of different HLA molecules immunoglobulin classes, roles of soluble molecules including cytokines and the complement system. Clinical aspects of the immune response will be examined in diseases such as allergies, infections, autoimmune disorders and immunodeficiency states. During the module relevant techniques in immunology will be discussed, the role of the laboratory in diagnosis/monitoring of disease and consolidated with laboratory practical/demonstration sessions.
  • BSX-2017: Invertebrates (20) (Semester 2)
    Formative feedback Lectures: four sessions (4 x 1 hour) one each led by Braig, Malhotra, Malham and Wüster Practical reports: one session involving peer review and feedback led by Wüster and Braig
  • BSX-2018: Behavioural Ecology (20) (Semester 2)
    The module will cover key aspects of animal behaviour and will include: Theory on the development of animal behaviour, learning and cognition, social behaviour, economic decision making, sexual selection, mating systems, sexual conflict and parental care. A considerable emphasis will also be placed on practical observation of animal behaviour and how this can be used to frame and test hypotheses to enhance our understanding of the field.
  • MSE-2019: Medical Microbiology (10) (Semester 2)
    The study of some major groups of bacteria and parasites of importance in human infection. Understanding of the key concepts used in investigating and diagnosing infections in the Medical Microbiology laboratory.
    or
    MSC-2019: Microbioleg Meddygol (10) (Semester 2)
    Astudio rhai prif grwpiau o facteria a pharasitiaid sydd yn bwysig yn y maes heintiau dynol. Deall y prif gysyniadau a ddefnyddir i archwilio a rhoi diagnosis o heintiau mewn labordy microbioleg feddygol.
  • DXX-2021: Plant Diversity & Conservation (20) (Semester 2)
  • BSX-2022: Vertebrate Biology (20) (Semester 1)
    This module traces the origins of vertebrates and follows the subsequent major advances in the evolution of aquatic, terrestrial and aerial groups. Themes given particular emphasis include: evolution, diversity, feeding, respiration (aquatic and aerial), locomotion (aquatic, terrestrial and flight) and reproduction. This module should be of general interest to all animal biologists but with an emphasis on terrestrial groups. The module will include 5 practical classes, comprising 3 on animal diversity (herpetology, birds and mammals, based on the museum collection), 1 chicken dissection (looking at locomotor, reproductive and digestive adaptations) and 1 on fish diversity in form and function.
  • BSX-2025: Field Courses (20) (Semester 1 + 2)
    Prepare for field courses by background reading (generally including preparing, presenting and attending peer-group presentations under the supervision of staff). Carry out field excursions to habitats normally including both managed and unmanaged environments. Learn about flora, fauna and conservation issues by a variety of means, normally including personal observations, talks by BU and local staff, signage and local interpretative centres and leaflets. Observe and record animal behaviour and habitat by various means including photography, video, audio recording and sketching. Where permitted and directed by staff, collect material for preservation and identification, including living plant and animal specimens, remains (e.g. shells, seed pods, tracks), photographs etc. Carry out species identification using field guides and keys. In some cases, quantitative ecological or ethological sampling may be carried out and data analysed quantitatively. Following excursions, there will normally be a review session, sharing experiences and summarising observations. At the end of the fieldwork, an assignment will be set which will include data, observations or material collected from the field.
  • BSX-2028: Introduction to Herpetology (20) (Semester 2)
  • BSX-2030: Integrated Zoology (20) (Semester 2)
  • BSX-2018 is a pre-requisite for BNS-3004. BSX-2030 is a pre-requisite for BSX-3145

Year 3 Modules

Compulsory Modules

Semester 1

Semester 2

Optional Modules

80 credits from:

  • BNS-3003: Freshwater Ecosystems 2 (20) (Semester 1)
    Introduction to freshwater ecosystems. Habitat type: Plants & algae, physical & chemical characteristics, geomorphology/hydrology & structure of freshwater ecosystems. Classification of lakes, rivers & wetlands. Freshwater communities & relationships Human impacts on freshwaters & approaches to conservation & restoration. Fisheries ecology, life assessment and management & fisheries economics Ecosystem services and their management
  • BNS-3004: Advances in Behaviour (20) (Semester 1)
    Observing animal behaviour. Introduction to welfare of animals in captivity. 
 Application of animal behavior to conservation. The evolution of animal behaviour and its role in macroevolution. Links between animal behavior and other disciplines such as psychology and computer science.
  • MSE-3017: Medical Genetics (10) (Semester 1)
    This course will cover broad aspects of genetics which relate to medical technologies and diagnostics. It will cover relevant areas of both microbial genetics and human genetics. This will provide the students with a good basis in understanding how the genetic systems of microbes can cause diseases and other clinically relevant problems, such as antibiotic resistance. Moreover, it will provide the basis for the understanding of how new antimicrobial agents might be generated through an understanding of the molecular mechanisms governing microbial genome dynamics. It will give the students an excellent grounding in human genomics and the new technology developments in human genomics which are leading to medical treatments and screening programmes based on the genetic makeup of individual genome profiles. In addition the students will be given experience in case studies of specific non-cancerous human genetic diseases and will employ a self learning exercise to get a deep understanding of the molecular and genetic basis for the aetiology of human genetic disorders. Specific areas covered are: (i) human molecular genetics in medicine; (ii) Post genomics and personalised genetics in medicine; (iii) microbial genetics and the relevance to medicine; (iv) case studies into specific human genetic disorders.
  • BSX-3139: Molecular Ecology & Evolution (20) (Semester 1)
    In the past few decades, molecular genetics has become one of the fastest growing fields in the life sciences. The application of molecular methods has spread to virtually all fields of modern biology, including ecology, conservation, breeding and natural resource management, leading to the establishment of Molecular Ecology. With the expansion of the application of molecular tools, it has become crucial that all biologists have a basic understanding of genetics and molecular biology, and the application of molecular tools to the detection of kin, the identification of isolated populations, the ability of populations to adapt to environmental change, and conservation genetics. The course takes advantage of the considerable research activity and expertise in molecular ecology and evolution within the School of Biological Sciences at Bangor. The focus will be on how recent advances in primarily DNA-based tools can be used at the population and species level to explore the dynamics of biodiversity in a changing world, including a consideration of the range of molecular tools available, the analysis of population structure and adaptation in the wild, genomic approaches to the analysis of species and community diversity, aspects of behavioural ecology, conservation genetics and the management of exploited species. Although the course requires grounding in basic principles of genetics and evolutionary biology, the course aims to explain how molecular tools can assist in our understanding of whole-organism biology (e.g. behaviour, life history, dispersal), and the strategies that are available for conservation and management of taxa in the wild.
  • BSX-3142: Env. Microbiol. and Biotech. (20) (Semester 2)
    Aims and objectives of the module: This module focuses on two important aspects of environmental microbiology and biotechnology: 1. The interaction of microorganisms with one another and with their environment. 2. The exploitation of microbes and microbial processes for use in the biotechnology industry. Lecture content. The lecture content of this module (25 lectures and 2 AV presentations) introduces the student to the following key concepts in environmental microbiology and biotechnology: Microbial phylogeny and physiological diversities of prokaryotes Metals and microorganisms The microbiology of extreme environments An introduction to microbial ecology Molecular tools used in microbial ecology Industrial Biotechnology Metagenomics The oil, bugs and the sea Microbes vs. predators Biogeochemical cycles Microbial biodegradation The industrial importance of cellulases Second generation biofuel production from Workshops and "Dragon's Den" Biotechnology start-up exercise: An additional aim of this module is to develop students graduate and key skills; intellectual skills, practical skills, communication skills, numeracy, communications and information technology (C & IT) skills, interpersonal and teamwork skills, self-management and professional development skills. Workshops (3 x 1 hour) will provide students with the opportunity to develop key skills by interacting in group discussions, obtaining formative feedback and providing peer assessment in workshop activities: Critical review of scientific literature (preparation for summative assessment). Enterprise skills (preparation for summative assessment). Biotechnology company start-up exercise. Students will take part in a "Dragon's Den" style student-led group exercise in which they will conceive a (hypothetical) Biotechnology start-up company based on a topic of interest from the lecture content. Students will prepare a scientific paper based on their companies research project and present their `pitch' to a panel of potential investors.
  • BSX-3145: Fish Physiology (20) (Semester 1)
    The module is based on holistic concepts. The study of fish biology from molecule to whole organism. Topics included will be fish diversity and basal groups, evolution and developmental biology. Physiological mechanisms: sensory modalities, density regulation, adaptations to unusual environments: Deep sea, extreme environments. Reproductive physiology, endocrinology. Whole organism biology: Migration, population ecology and aquaculture.
  • BSX-3150: Life in a Changing Climate (20) (Semester 2)
    The course will cover how climate change and aspects of zoology and biodiversity are connected and how they interact. Social implications of these factors will also be covered, along with potential ecosystem conservation and management practises needed to cope with a changing climate. Wetlands will be used as climate change case study.
  • BSX-3152: Life in Wetlands (20) (Semester 2)
    Wetland determination and delineation will be covered in detail, along with global wetland classifications. The wildlife of wetlands, with particular emphasis on animal species, will be a key part in many of the lectures and sessions. This area will also include specific zoological adaptations to cope with the stresses created by wetland conditions. Crucial wetland-biogeochemical cycles will be explained and the importance of wetlands, in terms of the ecosystem services they provide will be covered in-depth.
  • BSX-3153: Primatology (20) (Semester 1)
  • BSX-3154: Attack and Defence in Plants (20) (Semester 2)
  • BSX-3157: Ornithology (20) (Semester 1)
  • BSX-3159: Parasites & Pathogens (Yr3) (20) (Semester 1)
  • BSX-3161: Human Evolutionary Biology (20) (Semester 2)
  • DXX-3212: Forest Ecosystems (10) (Semester 2)
    The module is based on a series of lectures and seminars. The lectures provide a conceptual background and overview. The seminars are conducted by groups of students and provide an opportunity for in-depth study and discussion. Seminars are based on research papers which are critically reviewed and presented by a group of students in the class. The lecturer provides a platform for understanding the topic area and provokes discussion about the background of the paper, assumptions, weaknesses, and politics eg. Why did the author write that? Lecture Topics 1. Ecosystem Theory 2. Ecosystem Processes 3. Warming 4. Fire 5. Ozone 6. CO2 7. Soil Acidification 8. Nitrogen Deposition 9. Genetic Diversity 10. Tropical Forests
  • DXX-3301: Forest Ecology (20) (Semester 1)
    Lectures: Pattern and process in forests; the ecology of natural and human disturbance. Vegetation succession (mechanisms, models, impact on forest structure and composition, applications). The forest regeneration cycle (especially seed production and dispersal, gap phase, thinning, the regeneration niche). Ecological variation amongst plant species, including: its architectural and ecophysiological basis; response to global and local environmental change; applications to forest management. Forest mammals: geographical and habitat distribution; role in food webs. The global issue of invasive species, focussing on impacts in forest habitats. Disturbance effects on forest mammals; ecologically-based approaches to the management of invasive species. Forests and trees as habitat, their landscape ecology, habitat and species conservation and restoration. Practicals: Pattern and process in forests, vegetation succession, tree populations and regeneration, application to forest restoration and management; primary succession and its application to the ecological restoration of derelict industrial sites, environmental factors limiting the establishment of vegetation, comparative ecology of tree species and the impact of disturbance. Seminars: A series of ca. 20 key current questions in forest wildlife conservation will be introduced. Each pair of students will pick one question and research, present and discuss their answer in the following seminar.
  • FXX-3502: Chemical Biology (10) (Semester 1)
    This course comprises three main topics. Biopolymers - Covering aspects of the structures properties, and applications of major classes of biopolymeric material such as DNA, RNA and proteins, as well as a wide range of naturally occurring biopolymers derived from renewable resources, such as polyesters. Glycobiology – This section will introduce the role of carbohydrates in biological systems. Starting from basic concepts and terminology specific for carbohydrate chemistry, the following areas will be illuminated: properties and structures of common polysaccharides (e.g. amylose, cellulose, chitin, chitosan, peptidoglycans, pectins, dextrans, glycosaminoglycans, proteoglycans), chemical and enzymatic synthesis and degradation, complex carbohydrates (case studies: human and bacterial structures), glycoconjugates (case studies: glycoproteins, glycolipids), carbohydrates in medicine (case studies: lead structure, vaccine, inhibitor), carbohydrate recognition (case studies: lectins) in e.g. inflammatory processes (immune system), protein folding, blood group typing. Bio-inorganic Chemistry - This series of lectures will focus on the chemistry of metal ions in biological systems, particularly on the design of enzyme active sites with regard to their main biological roles. Bulk metals (Na, K, Ca and Mg) will be introduced but the main focus will be on important trace metals (e.g. Fe, Zn and Cu), and key ligand types (O, N and S-based ligands). Characterisation techniques which are applicable to enzyme active sites and special topics (e.g. metal uptake/transport and/or biomineralisation) will also be studied. Course Team: Dr H Tai - (7 lectures, 1 Tutorial), Dr M Lahmann - (7 lectures, 1 Tutorial), Dr L Murphy - (7 lectures, 1 Tutorial) RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS ESSENTIAL READING - none RECOMMENDED READING 1. Foundations of Chemical Biology. C M Dobson, J A Gerrard and A J Pratt (OUP, 2001) 2. Oxford Chemistry Primer (46) Inorganic Chemistry in Biology: P C Wilkins, R E Wilkins, (OUP) reprint 2005 3. Principles of Bioinorganic Chemistry. S Lippard & J Berg, 1994 4. Carbohydrate Chemistry, B. G. Davis and Antony J. Fairbanks, Oxford Chemistry Primers number 99 (2002), 5. Biopolymers from Renewable Resources, D. L. Kaplan, 1998 6. Biodegradeable Polymers for Industrial Applications, S. Smith, 2005 7. Introduction to Bioorganic Chemistry and Chemical Biology, D V Vranken, G Weiss 2013 SPECIFIC RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS FOR STUDENTS - None
  • You must try and select an even spread of modules across both semesters.