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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2022 - 2023

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

Homosapiens (humans) are but just one of the species that exist on Earth. Although scientific estimates vary, it is suggested that there are at least another 8.7 million species on Earth, many of which still remain undiscovered. Understanding and maintaining the diversity of species on Earth is crucial if we are to ensure the survival, health and wellbeing of current and future generations of all species, including humans. This module introduces students to the relationship between plants and animals and their living and physical environments (ecology). It also examines geographic distribution patterns globally (biogeography). These aspects are explored over a range of temporal (past, present, future) and spatial (local, regional, global) scales. Students will subsequently gain an insight into the key concepts, theories, terminology, and debates within the related fields of biogeography and ecology.

Learning Outcomes

1. Explain the key terms, definitions, and concepts that form the basis of ecology and biogeography
2. Identify how physical (e.g. light, temperature, moisture, soils) and biological (e.g. predation, competition) factors influence the distribution of, and interaction between, plants and animals across space and time
3. Explain the importance of spatial and temporal scales in biogeography and ecology
4. Categorise the major biomes on Earth and understand their interconnected nature
5. Define the concept of biodiversity, how it is measured, and how/why it varies across Earth
6. Examine how past geological, climatic, and evolutionary factors influence current biogeographical patterns
7. Recognise how ecological and biogeographical theories can support conservation policy and strategy in relation to present and future threats such as deforestation, biodiversity loss, and climate change

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24Scheduled Lectures/Seminars/Practicals
Laboratory8Arizona State University virtual laboratories on module topics
Independent Study93Independent reading, expansion on in-class material, completion of practical exercises, exam study
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Energy flows
Energy flows, trophic levels and biogeochemical cycles

Distribution of organisms
Physical parameters that control distribution of organisms

Biological factors
Biological factors that influence organisms

Concepts and theories
Key ecological and biogeographical concepts and theories

Hierarchy of ecological systems

Examining recent and geological past to explain current patterns of biodiversity distribution

Island biogeography

Biodiversity patterns, gradients, controls

Principles and applications of palaeoecology

Natural versus anthropogenic ecosystem disturbance

Conservation challenges

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

    Other Resources

    Programme or List of Programmes