The module focusses on developing field skills in topics related to biodiversity and conservation. Students will be trained for one of three field trip venues, depending on their MSc degree choices. For those choosing to specialise in Ecological and Evolutionary Biology, the students will travel to Borneo, a biodiversity hotspot in a tropical forest, where students are particularly exposed to a wealth of animals. Topics will encompass aspects of taxonomy, ecology, biogeography, conservation and evolution. Specific areas of content will include ecological processes in tropical rainforests (decomposition, pollination and seed dispersal); rainforest structure and defining characteristics (including the importance of rainforests as centres of biodiversity) and anthropogenic factors affecting rainforests (including disturbance, forest fragmentation and agriculture). There will be strong emphasis on practical training, in particular, students will be trained in a range of survey methods covering diverse terrestrial and aquatic taxonomic groups. The module will also provide training in data collection, analysis and presentation For those choosing to specialise in Plant and Fungal Taxonomy, Diversity and Conservation, the students will travel to a biodiversity hotspot in Madagascar, where students are particularly exposed to a wealth of plant and fungal groups. This Madagascar Field Course Module will provide an introduction to practical field work, including botanical surveys and flowering plant identification and how they can be applied to solving practical problems of conservation management as well as biodiversity research. It will be taught by botanists from the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre (KMCC) in Antananarivo. Several site visits to conservation projects and some taught case studies will give an over-view of conservation in Madagascar. For those choosing to specialise in Freshwater and Marine Ecology, the students will travel to a marine biodiversity hotspot in Cape Verde, where students focus on the diversity, behaviour, ecology, physiology, conservation and management of cetaceans (whales and dolphins), and marine turtles. It covers such issues as the life history and migrations of turtles, their diving ability and behaviours, the social behaviour of dolphins, and the conservation of whales. It also includes (even though they are not mammals or reptiles!) a brief look at the sea-birds and sharks that will likely also be seen during field excursions. For part of the module students will be taught in the archipelago of Cape Verde, with boat trips for whales and shark observations, sea turtle monitoring. We reserve the right to change the location of any of these field courses if advice on travel from the Foreign Commonwealth Office recommends it, or for logistical reasons it becomes impractical. Whilst the field trip is compulsory, if a student is unexpectedly unable to travel, an alternative method of assessment will be undertaken.

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