ECOL06007 2019 Terrestrial Ecology
This module introduces the fundamental concepts of terrestrial ecology through developing an understanding of the abiotic and biotic interactions of terrestrial ecosystems. It includes examples from a range of terrestrial ecosystems including coastal, peatlands and heathlands, grasslands and forests. Students are introduced to the terrestrial environment and life in terrestrial ecosystems. The abiotic and biotic components of various terrestrial ecosystems are described and reinforced by practical elements covering the sampling and classification of terrestrial habitats and their communities.
On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;
Describe the fundamental ecological concepts of populations, communities and environment interactions of a range of twerrestrial ecosystems (peatland, grassland, forest and coastal)
Demonstrate an understanding of the biotic and abiotic components of a range of terrestrial ecosystems
Recognise the dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems and explain energy flow and nutrient cycling in a range of terrestrial ecosystems
Identify and classify terrestrial habitats using both Irish and international habitat classification systems
Collect and interpret sample data from selected terrestrial habitats
Teaching and Learning Strategies
This module will be delivered full-time (or part-time for online modules). This will include lectures, laboratory practicals, and site visits augmented by independent learning and directed learning. This approach is expected to address student learning needs. Moodle will be used as a repository of educational resources and as a means of assessment (e.g. quizzes, uploading assignments and journals).
Module Assessment Strategies
Module will be assessed using a combination of end of semester final exam (40%), continuous assessment and course work (60%). The continuous assessment and course work will involve two in class theory assessments incorporating short and multiple choice questions in mid/late semester. Practical work will be assessed via a laboratory and field notebook and two written scientific reports which examine the students ability to collect, interpret and report on terrestrial ecological survey data (summative and diagnostic assessment).
The student must reach an assigned gate (mark) in the final exam and achieve 40% overall to pass the subject.
Repeat Continuous Assessment and/or Final Exam
Indicative theory and practicals, at the discretion of the lecturer, to meet the learning outcomes.
Introduction to terrestrial ecology
- Concepts of populations, communities and ecosystems
- Ecosystem services and Sustainable Development Goals
The terrestrial environment
- Terrestrial ecosystem structure
- Terrestrial food webs and trophic structure
- Types and distributions of biomes
- Factors influencing biomes
Soils and vegetation
- Introduction to soils and how they support vegetation and ecosystems
- Soil biota
- Soil ecosystem services
Vegetation and plant communities
- Structure of plant communities
- Methods to assess structure of plant communities (e.g. Raunkaier life forms)
Terrestrial plant-herbivore interactions
- How plant-herbivore interactions occur within ecosystems
- Food web and community dynamics
- Impacts of interactions at ecosystem level
Introduction to structure and function of a range of terrestrial ecosystems
- Field-based sampling to measure and assess a range of terrestrial parameters in terrestrial ecosystems e.g. peatlands, grasslands, forests
- Laboratory practicals to identify, quantify and explore plants and other parameters from terrestrial ecosystems
Coursework & Assessment Breakdown
|Title||Type||Form||Percent||Week||Learning Outcomes Assessed|
|1||In-class assessment - short and multiple choice questions||Continuous Assessment||Multiple Choice||10 %||Week 6||1,2,3|
|2||In-class assessment - short and multiple choice questions||Continuous Assessment||Multiple Choice||10 %||Week 12||1,2,3|
|3||Practical Evaluation - lab and field notebook (accurate record of practical work)||Continuous Assessment||Practical Evaluation||15 %||OnGoing||2,4,5|
|4||Written Report - two written scientific reports on practical work||Continuous Assessment||Assignment||25 %||OnGoing||4,5|
End of Semester / Year Assessment
|Title||Type||Form||Percent||Week||Learning Outcomes Assessed|
|1||Final Exam Theory end of semester examination||Final Exam||Closed Book Exam||40 %||End of Term||1,2,3|
Full Time Mode Workload
|Lecture||Lecture Theatre||Theory lectures||2||Weekly||2.00|
|Laboratory Practical||Science Laboratory||Laboratory practicals and field trips||2||Weekly||2.00|
|Independent Learning||UNKNOWN||Independent learning||3||Weekly||3.00|
Required & Recommended Book List
2011-12-15 Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology: Principles and Applications Cambridge University Press
ISBN 1107648254 ISBN-13 9781107648258
Human activities impact the environment and modify the cycles of important elements such as carbon and nitrogen from local to global scales. In order to maintain long-term and sustainable use of the world's natural resources it is important that we understand how and why ecosystems respond to such changes. This book explains the structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems, using examples ranging from the Arctic to the tropics to demonstrate how they react under differing conditions. This knowledge is developed into a set of principles that can be used as starting points for analysing questions about ecosystem behaviour. Ecosystem dynamics are also considered, illustrating how ecosystems develop and change over a range of temporal and spatial scales and how they react to perturbations, whether natural or man-made. Throughout the book, descriptive studies are merged with simple mathematical models to reinforce the concepts discussed and aid the development of predictive tools.
2011-09-02 Principles of Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology Springer
Features review questions at the end of each chapter; Includes suggestions for recommended reading; Provides a glossary of ecological terms; Has a wide audience as a textbook for advanced undergraduate students, graduate students and as a reference for practicing scientists from a wide array of disciplines
Orgiazzi, A., Bardgett, R.D., Barrios, E., Behan-Pelletier, V., Briones, M.J.I., Chotte, J-L., De Deyn, G.B., Eggleton, P., Fierer, N., Fraser, T., Hedlund, K., Jeffery, S., Johnson, N.C., Jones, A., Kandeler, E., Kaneko, N., Lavelle, P., Lemanceau, P., Miko, L., Montanarella, L., Moreira, F.M.S., Ramirez, K.S., Scheu, S., Singh, B.K., Six, J., van der Putten, W.H., Wall, D.H. (Eds.). (2016). Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas. European Commission, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg. 176 pp.
Agren, G.I. & Andersson, F.O. 2012. Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology Principles and Applications. Cambridge University Press
Gibson, D.J. 2009. Grasses and Grassland Ecology. Oxford University Press.
Barnes, B.V., Zak, D.R., Denton, S.R. & Spurr, S.H. 1998. Forest Ecology. 4th Edition. Wiley & Sons
Parnell, J.A., Curtis, T. and Cullen, E. (2012). Webbs An Irish Flora. Cork University Press
Journal of Applied Ecology
Journal of Ecology
Journal of Agriculture, Ecology and Environment
National Parks and Wildlife Service - www.npws.ie
National Biodiversity Data Centre - www.biodiversityireland.ie
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology - https://www.ceh.ac.uk/our-science/science-issues/terrestrial-ecology
Environment Protection Agency - www.epa.ie
Heritage Council - www.heritagecouncil.ie
Ecosystem Service Partnership - www.es-partnership.org
Natural Capital Coalition - www.naturalcapitalcoalition.org
UN Sustainable Development Goals - www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals
Additional resources will be made available on IT Sligo learn online system (Moodle) at the discretion of the lecturer. Will contain pdfs of powerpoint lectures and links to additional reading material for selected topics.