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Module BSX-2038:
Siberia Field Course

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Christian Dunn

Overall aims and purpose

The Siberia field course module is designed to enthuse and motivate students to learn further about wildlife, animal behaviour, conservation, ecology and fieldwork, making use of the unique habitats available in remote Siberian Taiga habitats. We aim to give students the opportunity to study a wide range of taxa in their native environment and emphasise field-based practical conservation skills.

Course content

1 week field course in Siberia, Russia, focused on biodiversity and ecology of flora and fauna across Taiga. The students are expected to prepare for the field course by performing background reading and preparing presentation material. We carry out field excursions to different habitats and students experience combinations of self-guided, seminar based and guided explorations of different subtropical habitats. Students learn about the different habitats and biodiversity by a combination of personal observations, talks by BU, guides, mentors and local staff. Students observe and record flora and fauna and their context in different habitats using different media, including field notebooks, photography, video, drawings and on-line blogs. Students carry out species identification using field guides, online searching and keys. Students deliver oral presentations prior to the field course and undertake numerical exercises during their field sampling, in addition to preparing and finishing a Blog and Poster Presentation, that is handed in approximately four weeks after returning to Bangor.

Assessment Criteria

excellent

Grades A- to A+ Excellent: Can record observations thoroughly, systematically and clearly, without significant omissions, including finer details of identification to find taxonomic level or to uncover theories of the function, evolution, ecology or the behavioural adaptations observed. Clear evidence of original, unguided observations. Exhibits clear awareness of the ecological and environmental context of observations. Presents findings and questions via oral presentation and written work accurately and succinctly with clarity, imagination, originality and strongly-developed aesthetic sense. Able to identify most organisms to species level, with evidence of thoroughness and awareness of potential pitfalls.

threshold

Grades D- to D+ Threshold:

Can record observations in a reasonably clear and systematic fashion and have some grasp of the practical issues relating to collection and presentation of data/observations. Considerable inconsistencies in notetaking remain. Exhibits some knowledge of habitats and biota visited and the relevant conservation/management issues, although this may be very incomplete and contain significant errors. Present findings and questions via oral presentation and written work largely accurately and clearly. Able to identify most organisms at least to the level of major group.

good

Grades B- to B+ Good: Can record observations clearly and systematically, with a grasp of the practical issues relating to collection and presentation of data/observations, albeit with a few major omissions. Exhibits strong knowledge of habitats and biota visited. Shows awareness of the ecological, and environmental context. Able to identify the majority of organisms to the appropriate level (usually species). Presents findings and questions via oral presentation and written work accurately and with flair, clarity and originality.

C- to C+

Grades C- to C+.

Can record observations in an adequately clear and systematic fashion and have a basic grasp of the practical issues relating to collection and presentation of data/observations. Some inconsistencies in notetaking remain. Exhibits basic knowledge of habitats and biota visited and essential of the relevant conservation/management issues, although this may be incomplete and contain some errors. Able to identify most organisms at least to the level of major group. Presents findings and questions via oral presentation and written work adequately.

Learning outcomes

  1. Address research questions arising from the environmental and ecological factors governing the distribution of biodiversity in Siberian habitats and prevailing conservation challenges.

  2. Describe in detail, thorough and original field observations and record and present them systematically

  3. Demonstrate identification skills and knowledge relating to flora and fauna of visited study sites.

  4. Demonstrate self management and lifelong learning (undertaking directed reading, time management, teamwork, presentation skills, working to a deadline).

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION Fieldcourse Poster

Poster presentation on the biodiversity of the region, encapsulating environmental, ecological and conservation context. Presentations focus on a research question arising from observations made during the field course.

40
INDIVIDUAL BLOG Blog-format field notebook

Field notes of habitats, species seen, behaviours observed etcetera during the trip, In Blog format and featuring the biomes and organisms visited during the course of the field trip. The length should comply with established blogging practice.

60

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Workshop

Talks and workshops in Siberia on topics relevant to the days activities and preparing for assessments. Fieldwork involving walks, seminars and self-guided biodiversity exploration.

7
Lecture

Pre-departure lectures on background, preparations, safety, aims and objectives and assessments.

3
Fieldwork

Fieldwork involving walks, seminars and self-guided biodiversity exploration.

160
Private study

To complement the different forms of assessment, we expect students to perform their own private study, to research the flora and fauna, ecology and environment of the region to prepare for field work and oral presentations. Further, both shared and private study will help enhance student's knowledge of the taxa and habitats and broader environmental issues pertaining to the blogged fieldnotebook component of the course. Finally, students will spend time researching background information, methodology and predicted results for the proposed favourite research areas that will feature in the project proposal assessment.

30

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

Resources

Resource implications for students

Students pay for field course through deposits/payments spread through their Year 1 and the Summer before Year two. Estimated costs based on recent trips to the US (2017 -2019) are £1000, contingent on exchange rates and airfares. This includes flights, accommodation, local transport, fuel, entrance fees to state and national parks. We also recommend that the students bring an additional £100 for self catering food, snacks, tourist activities etc. Students are also responsible for acquiring suitable field clothing and weather protection (appropriate footwear, clothing, insect repellant etc.)

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: