We introduce concepts of climate and how that impacts on the functioning of the Earth's ecosystems. You'll explore biodiversity and look at the loss of species and habitats.
Global Environmental Processes
The unifying theme of this module is biogeochemical cycling - the production, distribution and cycling of materials on the Earth and their availability to, and use by, biological organisms. The module starts by covering the history of the universe, from the big bang to the evolution of the Earth's surface environment. Then you will explore the major global systems and their circulations as they are today - solids, liquids and gases. In the final section you will examine the major materials - including carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, oxygen and metals - and their budgets and cycles; and the interactions between biological and physical/chemical processes on a global scale. You will have a two-hour lecture once a week for this module.
The Ecology of Natural and Managed Ecosystems
Pollinator species are hugely important for natural systems and for managed systems like agriculture, but there is concern that numbers are declining. This module introduces you to the principles of ecology and looks at how organisms have evolved to interact with their environment.
- population and community ecology
- the various definitions of biodiversity
- the loss of species and habitats
You’ll have lectures from current researchers in the field and the opportunity to apply your learning in the laboratory and through field visits. This is a 20 credit module.
Tutorials in Environmental Science
This 20 credit module will enable you to study effectively at university. Through lectures, practical's and tutorials you will develop your written presentation and data handling skills. You will learn:
- how to use the library and other sources to retrieve information
- how to read, understand and synthesise primary literature
- how to produce a literature review on your chosen topic
Environmental Science and Society
This module introduces you to the role and limitations of environmental science within the context practical environmental decision-making. During this module, we will look at how the degradation of our natural environment is creating unprecedented challenges for humans and society around the world. Science has a key role to play in helping us to understand and protect our environment. Public opinion of environmental issues and science is key to this, not least because the public funds 80% of scientific research. In this module, we will look at issues around scientific ethics, trust in science, denial, scepticism and science communication. Environmental problems are now very much part of the political agenda. We will look at the history of the environmental movement, environmental activism and environmental ethics. We will explore how and why we try to protect the environment through policy, legislation, international agreements and economic strategies.
Climate, Atmosphere and Oceans
This module introduces key components of the Earth's circulation systems and how those contribute to determining the Earth’s climate on regional scales. It provides an overview of weather formation, atmospheric and ocean chemistry, large scale ocean circulation patterns, and Earth’s resulting climatic zones. It will introduce concepts of climate and how that impacts on functioning of the Earths ecosystems.
You will develop process based understanding of these factors practical as well as the spatial distribution of weather patterns and ocean currents. You will use models and field measurements of air flow to test how energy is transported. We will look at the scale, rates, distribution and causes of weather systems and the implications of this for global climate change. We will examine the linkages between weather systems and ocean currents.
Bulk properties of the Earth, minerals, igneous rocks, sedimentary rocks, metamorphic rocks, geological time, tectonics, geological structures, map interpretation, geological hazards, resource geology.
Environmental Management Field Course
On this residential field course you will study communities and ecosystems, using a range of field techniques. The Devon field course is based in a coastal habitat in south Devon, particular focus is on understanding the impacts of local agriculture and tourism, and the strategies used to manage a national nature reserve and SSSI (site of special scientific interest).
You are required to pay a contribution towards the cost of the field course which takes place in June after the end of the first year.