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GG3272   Biogeography and the Earth System

Academic year(s): 2018-2019

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 20

ECTS credits : 10

Level : SCQF level 9

Semester: 1

Availability restrictions: Offered on a two-year cycle

Planned timetable: 11.00 am – 1:00 pm Monday

Planet Earth appears to be unique as the home of life. Biological processes are deeply woven into the fabric of the physical world and human societies. The resulting interactions, at every scale from microscopic to global, are fundamental to the geography of our planet. This module explores the discipline of biogeography, which describes and explains the distribution of different life forms (species, communities) across the Earth. In lectures, seminars and in the field, we will investigate the fundamental controls on the distribution of life, and engage with ongoing debates. The module goes on to consider the role of biology in the Earth system as a whole, focusing on the cycling of key elements including carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus ¿ the behaviour of which has huge ramifications for society today. Finally, using examples from around the globe, we will look at biogeographical changes in the Anthropocene, and consider the challenges for conservation and development.

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1-hour lecture, (X 11 weeks), 1-hour seminar (x 6 weeks) 2-hour workshops(x 4 weeks) 6-hour fieldwork (x 1 week)

Scheduled learning hours: 24

Guided independent study hours: 176

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: Coursework = 40%, 2-hour Written Examination = 60%

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 60%
Practical examinations : 0%
Coursework: 40%

Re-assessment: Students will have to resit the failed component(s) in order to obtain a capped mark of 7 for the module as a whole, completing one or more of the following: A 1500 word report, following the format of Assessment 1, using a different, secondary dataset (30%) - A 1500 word guide to the biogeography of a selected region (i.e. a different region to the first attempt; 30%) - A two-hour written exam (40%).


Module coordinator: Dr I T Lawson
Module teaching staff: Dr I Lawson, Dr K Roucoux