Environmental Science & Sustainability (Dumfries campus) BSc

Applied Ecology & Conservation DUMF3001

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 3 (SCQF level 9)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course looks at some key ecological principles and theories and demonstrates how they have been put into practice through examination of case studies. Ecological applications at individual, population, community, and ecosystem levels will be studied e.g., disturbance, population dynamics, conservation of rare and small populations, succession, biosphere reserves and island biogeography.


2 hours of lecture and 2/3 hours of tutorial or field class weekly.


Report (60%) [ILOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Oral presentation on an ecological topic (40%) [ILOs 2, 3, 4, 5]

Main Assessment In: December

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The overall aim of this course is to make direct links between principles of ecological theory and practical conservation. The specific aims are to:

1. Examine the internal and external factors influencing the conservation of species and habitats;

2. Consider the benefits and challenges of different conservation strategies such as in-situ and ex-situ conservation schemes, protected areas, rare species, and small populations;

3. Determine the temporal and spatial factors contributing to the complexity of species-habitat interactions, and their importance in developing conservation strategies;

4. Explore ecological responses to a variety of factors (such as disturbance (natural or anthropogenic), succession, climate change), at the different levels of the ecological hierarchy;

5. Develop specific graduate attributes in areas such as investigation, independent work, critical analysis, communication, reflection; confidence.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

On completion of the course, students will be able to:

1. Produce a critical report on the interrelationship between external and internal factors influencing the conservation of endangered species or habitats; 

2. Demonstrate an understanding of in-situ and ex-situ conservation schemes, protected areas, and the challenges of conserving rare species and small populations;

3. Explain the complexity of species-habitat interactions and their importance when devising appropriate conservation strategies taking spatial and temporal factors into account;

4. Identify ecological responses to factors such as disturbance, succession, climate change, at the individual, population, community, and ecosystem levels;

5. Demonstrate: investigative skills through their report and oral presentation which includes critical analysis of data independently acquired; communication skills by presenting their findings orally and in written form; reflection on the adequacy of data acquired; and confidence in drawing up conclusions based on their research.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.