Introduction to Ornithology
Introduction to Ornithology 2023-24
School of Environmental & Natural Sciences
Module - Semester 2
This module will cover the main ancestral and extant groups of birds and their intra- and inter-ordinal evolutionary relationships. An overview of the range of morphological and physiologial specialisations will be provided. The role of flight and its subsequent loss in key groups will be discussed, along with effects of environmental variables on the ecology, behaviour and migration of birds more generally. The biology of sexual display and adornments, acoustic communication and mate selection will be presented. The range of sensory systems in birds will be introduced, and how they are shaped by their ecology and behaviour will be discussed.
-threshold -40-49% - The students should be able to express a basic factual knowledge of at least some part of the core material (facts and concepts) presented in the module. They should be able to appreciate how the features and adaptations of birds enhance their survival and lifetime reproductive success in a specific environment. Reports should demonstrate a basic ability to introduce the subject, present methods, analyse and present results, discuss the implications of the main research findings. Test and exam answers should demonstrate a basic ability to present lecture material and to outline key concepts.
-good -60-69% - The student should be able to express a thorough factual knowledge of much of the core material (facts and concepts) presented in the module. They should have a competent and detailed ability to critically evaluate the principles and processes by which birds are adapted to their environment, using specific examples. Some evidence of further reading and ability to integrate material from the full range of the lecture content.
-excellent -70%+: The student should demonstrate comprehensive factual knowledge, critical understanding of theory, evidence of extra reading of primary literature and the ability to integrate this extra knowledge in a relevant manner.
-another level-50-59% - The student should demonstrate a reasonable factual knowledge of some of the core material (facts and concepts) presented in the module. They should have a reasonable ability to evaluate the processes governing how birds are adapted to their environment.
- Acquire a broad understanding of threats and conservation issues relating to birds.
- Develop an understanding of the range of practical skills used to study birds in the laboratory and the field.
- Develop practical, interpersonal and teamwork skills by working jointly with other students to undertake a short practical project.
- Engage with the essential facts, major concepts, principles and theories associated with the adaptations shown by birds to their environments.
- Evaluate the evolutionary and ecological significance of birds, and describe major evolutionary trends within each group.
- Exhibit an ability to analyse, synthesise and summarise information critically and write formal reports or manuscripts.
Exam (Centrally Scheduled)
End of module exam which will consist of a selection of short essays covering the main subject areas of the module.
Data on body and wing size and shape is used to study and appreciate the adaptive morphology of birds. Analysis is done using spreadsheets and R Code.
Data from the satellite/GPS tracking of birds (such as the Curlew) are used to make an analysis of their movements in appreciation of their foraging and home range requirements. The analysis is done using spreadsheets and R Code.