The aims of this unit are to:
* provide skills in identifying the dynamic processes and interactions (biotic and abiotic) within a range of UK habitats.
* provide an appreciation of the relationship between phenotype and ecological niche.
* enable conversance with spatial and temporal factors and their relationship to populations.
* provide an awareness of the effect of primary, processing, manufacturing/retail industries and their associated processes which impact on habitats.
* provide opportunities to examine examples of best practice in mitigating human impacts.
At the end of this unit students will be able to:
* demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of key dynamic processes that maintain or develop plant and animal communities.
* identify factors that affect the structure and dynamics of populations.
* recognise the effects of human activities on ecological diversity and habitat quality.
* identify factors impacting on habitat quality and apply sustainable,
* remedial and prevention measures.
During the unit students will gain the following skills:
* gathering, processing and analysing technical information (A).
* understanding a range of socio-economic objectives and their implications (T).
* written and verbal presentation skills (A).
* developing identification and observational skills to maintain records and contribute to reports (T).
* developing a range of intrinsic skills to respond to situations (T).
* evaluating specifications and costs (T).
* writing reports (A).
* communicating to third parties (F).
This unit concentrates on:
* dynamic processes (e.g. biogeochemical cycles and actions such as production, consumption and decomposition) in selected habitats including grassland, heathland, lowland woodland, bog and fen.
* principal UK flora and fauna and their interactions within selected habitats.
* phenotypic characteristics of key plant and animal species, e.g. halophytes, xerophytes, R and K strategies, breeding, dispersal and migratory strategies.
* the biotic and abiotic factors governing changes in habitats by reference to models of succession, e.g. primary, secondary, climax and plagio-climax communities.
* population relationships and trophic levels, community diversity (predator-prey relationships) and spatial factors, e.g. carrying capacity and genetic drift, and temporal factors, e.g. day length and seasonality.
* inter and intra-specific interactions influencing the structure and dynamics of populations.
* monitoring of selected species and analysis of environmental influences.
* the effects of human interactions as primary intensive agrarian and pastoral systems, industrial processes and production.
* examples of best industrial practice within an environment focused framework (auditing, energy and waste management plans).