BSc Zoology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Introduction to Ecology

Course unit fact file
Unit code EART10602
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 4
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


With increased population, human activities and other natural impacts e.g. climate change transforming the environment, it is important to understand the factors that determine the abundance and  distribution of species and their interactions in their environment.

Introduction to Ecology (EART 10602) serves as a core component of environmental sciences and organismal biology that is essential to the development of environmental biology and provides core training in ecology to students of environmental sciences, as well as biology, zoology and plant sciences, complementing and providing better context to teaching in field units.

This module covers a range of fundamental topics in ecology, focussing on processes at different scales (individual, population, community and ecosystem) and introducing as case studies a series of major biomes. The module includes case studies which employ ecological principles to global challenges such as food security and biodiversity loss.

The skills learnt in this Unit will provide broader scope for second and third year including courses in Ecology & Ecosystems, Urban Biodiversity and Conservation and Human Impacts on the Environment and application used by environmental regulatory agencies.



The unit aims to:

  1. Develop students’ skills in ecology as a core component of environmental science and organismal biology.
  2. Cover a range of fundamental topics in ecology, focussing on processes at different scales and to introduce as case studies a series of major biomes.
  3.  Provide a series of lectures looking at how ecological principles can be applied to global challenges e.g. food security and biodiversity loss.


Learning outcomes

On the successful completion of the course, students will be able to: 

  • Describe the processes that govern population growth and regulation
  • Explain the species interactions that shape community structure (resource competition, predation and herbivory, parasitism, mutualism/commensalism)
  • Demonstrate the diversity of ecosystem processes across a range of major biomes
  • Discuss the threats to biodiversity and value of ecosystem services
  • Apply ecological principles to tackle the grand contemporary challenges to global biodiversity and sustainability.
  • Identify appropriate methods for assessing biodiversity
  • Work independently; Develop analytical and problem solving skills through elearning exercises on Blackboard
  • Communicate effectively: Students are encouraged to ask and answer questions during lectures


Teaching and learning methods

  • Face to face lectures
  • Podcast lectures
  • Notes and lecture slides presented online
  • Discussion Group on Backboard
  • 1 e-learning assignment
  • Independent study (78 hours)

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 20%
Written exam 80%

Exam, multiple choice, 1 hour (80%)

Online test, e-learning assessments on Blackboard, 1 hour (20%)

Formative assessment after each lecture delivered (0%)

Feedback methods

Exam, multiple choice, 1 hour - After exams, a feedback session is provided-generic and for individuals in a room pre-booked for the process.

Online test, e-learning assessments on Blackboard, 1 hour - Feedback to the questions immediately after completing the assessment/end of the eLearning assessment’s deadline

Formative assessment after each lecture delivered - Difficult questions are discussed during lectures & on Discussion Board. During course synthesis & feedback session, students will be provided quiz questions identified from each of the lectures. Following the quiz, these questions will be reviewed in the lecture theatre. Further questions will be provided on blackboard for students’ practice and revision. 

Recommended reading

Begon, M., Townsend, C.R., Harper, J. L. Ecology : From Individuals to Ecosystems Author: Available on EBSCOhost

Townsend, C. R., Begon, M., Harper, J.L. Essentials of Ecology:

Krebs, C.J.  Ecology: Pearson New International Edition -

Cain, M.L; Bowman, W.D and Hacker, S (2014). Ecology 3rd ed. pp596 Sinauer Associates Publishers 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 80

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Cecilia Medupin Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Other scheduled teaching and learning activities:

Revision workshop- Kahoot!

Questions; discussion board; formative assessment for each lecture 

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