AP0515 - Environmental Biology

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will learn how animals and plants interact with their environment, and with each other. How do factors like temperature, drought and the availability of nutrients affect plants and animals? The module will explore these issues. This is important, as the current climate change has an impact on both animals and plants. You will learn how in the course of evolution plants and animals have adapted to different climate conditions. With regards to plants, you will study how they have adapted not only their morphology, but also their photosynthesis to survive in a range of habitats. You will learn how animals have adapted their morphology, physiology and biochemistry to respond to variations in different environmental parameters and survive and function in various habitats, including extreme habitats such as the deep sea hydrothermal vents and very dry deserts. The interaction between plants and animals will also be studied.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through lectures, workshops and practicals. The lectures will provide you with the theoretical background knowledge on the topics under study. In the lectures, you will be encouraged to engage as much as possible. In several lectures and in workshops you will be presented with research papers from which you will have to extract and analyse data. This will give you insight to recent research findings, and it will train you in accessing and analysing data in scientific publications. It is a challenging, but good way to familiarise yourself with scientific communication at professional level. The practicals will not only illustrate the material presented in lectures, but also allow you to develop your practical skills in the field of biology.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

A module guide with detailed information on the content of the module, the time table, the different assessments and dates of submission and feedback will be made available via Blackboard. All lecture information plus extra information and problem solving exercises will be present on Blackboard. The module is attached to an electronic reading list which allows you easy access to relevant, directed reading, videos and other forms of information. During the teaching sessions, you will be supported in various ways. In the lectures, we encourage interaction as much as possible. You will be involved in discussions and problem solving exercises. This allows you to make optimum use of the lectures. In lectures and workshops you will engage in scientific exercises and workbooks. You will be able to get formative feedback on your performance, which gives you the opportunity analyse your theoretical knowledge and your skills in applying this knowledge, and where necessary to improve.
Northumbria lecturers are accessible outside teaching hours as well; there are opportunities each week to sign up for a private meeting with your lecturer.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

1. Describe and discuss the variety of adaptations to different external environments, including evolutionary adaptations to extreme environments in plants and animals.
2. Understand and discuss the relation between flowers and insects, and discuss and evaluate the challenges for both partners in our changing agricultural and urban habitats.
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Access and analyse data from scientific peer-reviewed publications and interpret and communicate these data in a scientific manner.
4. Carry out experimental work in the laboratory in a safe and responsible manner, observing the COSHH regulations and record, analyse and present the data in the format of a scientific report.
Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Evaluate and interpret data on the effects of global warming, and discuss both the dangers to, and the opportunities of safeguarding our wildlife and domesticated plants and animals.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by coursework. There are two assignments in this module:
• Animal environmental biology – 50% of module mark. This assignment consists of a scientific report in the IMRAD format, based on data collected during laboratory experiments and additional data discussed during workshops. (MLO 1, 2; 3, 4 and 5 – for animals)
• Plant environmental biology – 50% of module mark. This assignment consists of a workbook with questions and problems based on peer-reviewed papers on the topics we have been studying in lectures, practicals and workshops. (MLO 1, 2; 3, 4; and 5 – for plants and plant-animal interactions)
Informal feedback will be given during workshops, practicals and in-session activities.
Your marked work with written feedback will be returned to you via Blackboard.


AP0412 - Animal and Plant Biology



Module abstract

Plants and animals have colonised nearly every habitat on planet earth, and live and thrive in a wide range of conditions. How do they manage? How have plants and animals been able to adapt to climatic conditions in both the frozen arctic, and in hot and arid tropical deserts? In this module we will explore some of the adaptations that allow species to be successful in their own habitat. Insight and knowledge in these adaptations is important: we live in a changing world where climate change puts pressures not only on wild species, but also on the domesticated plants and animals upon which we rely for our survival.

Course info

UCAS Code C100

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Applied Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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