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Ecology and Conservation


Our teaching is informed by the world-leading research that is performed in the Centre for Ecology and Conservation, and we constantly strive to ensure it is accessible and inclusive for all our students. Our degrees share learning in the field, in lecture theatres and in laboratories, to equip you for your future career in ecological, conservation and wider biological sciences roles, offering you the choice to specialise in your areas of interest.

You will be taught key skills in critical thinking and communication that underpin the scientific process and how to apply this understanding to research in the field whilst developing a deeper understanding of topics such as terrestrial and marine ecology, evolution, animal behaviour, biodiversity and conservation. The transferable skills you gain will be applicable to careers in any sector.

Student on cliff in Scilly islands

Information for current students

Detailed information for current students can be found on the Current students webpages. Module descriptors and programme specifications can be found on the Study Information webpages.

Study and teaching facilities

Our teaching laboratory is fully equipped to deliver teaching excellence in all of our lab and field practicals. Students will spend a considerable amount of time in the teaching lab undertaking practical work during the course of their degree. A huge variety of practical classes take place including:

  • Molecular ecology where students analyse the DNA of fruit flies
  • Microscopy - for example looking at microbes in environmental samples such as pond water
  • Microbiology where we culture and identify potential wildlife diseases
  • Behavioural ecology where students look into cockroach personality traits

Students can borrow equipment from the teaching lab for their practical’s, or projects. Equipment available includes camera traps (trail cams) night vision scopes, Thermal imaging cameras, binoculars and telescopes, bat detectors, hydrophones (to listen underwater), cameras including Go-Pro’s, sound recorders, moth traps, survey equipment, field guides and identification books.

We have a collection of invertebrates for use in outreach sessions and for students to observe in several modules, such as BIO2441: Applied Insect Ecology. The collection currently includes giant African land snails, Indian stick insects, New Guinea spiny stick insects, leaf insects, cherry shrimp, and Madagascan hissing cockroaches.

The Teaching lab also has a large collection of skeletons, taxidermy, and wet specimens, as well as a plant cabinet. These are used for outreach and for several lab sessions throughout the year for students to learn about comparative anatomy.

The Teaching Lab is dedicated to making lab sessions accessible to all, so we have implemented a number of access features that can be requested by students.

We have height adjustable benches in the first row for wheelchair users or students with additional mobility needs, braille labels in key areas, individually bookable workspaces, plus maps and video walkthroughs available online to help students familiarise themselves with the lab prior to their first session.

Some students struggle with the sensory overload of busy lab sessions, so we have created a quiet row at the back of the lab, fitted with privacy screens and an AV screen that live streams the teaching from the lectern, plus an additional quiet space outside of the lab for breaks within sessions.

Further accessible adjustments are arranged on a case-by-case basis.