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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BLGY1238 Exploring Whole Organism Biology in the Lab and Field

10 creditsClass Size: 80

Module manager: Dr Henry Greathead

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

Biology A level or equivalent

Module replaces

BLGY1236 Practical Applied Biology

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module provides hands on experience of conducting research in whole organism biology in both the laboratory and field. A range of methodologies, from the sampling organisms in different habitats to the application of molecular genetic techniques for organism identification, will be used to address evolutionary, ecological and environmental questions, and demonstrate uses of biotechnology.


An understanding of the experimental techniques that underpin study of whole organism biology. The key objective of this module is to provide training in a range of experimental techniques, and data collection, analysis and interpretation. Through this training technical competence will be developed.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students should be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental biology underpinning the practicals;
- Competently use techniques used in whole organism biology research;
- Analyse and interpret results;
- Communicate results.

Skills outcomes
- Good Laboratory Practice;
- Core techniques for the study of whole organism biology.


The module is practical-based.
Practicals include:
- Phosphorus content of animal excreta;
- Microbial fermentation and fractional distillation;
- Vertebrate evolution;
- Arthropod diversity and molecular genotyping;
- Freshwater biodiversity.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours76.00
Total Contact hours24.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Private study will include completion of coursework elements (30h);
Background reading (46h) in support of the practicals (reading handouts and associated literature) and in researching coursework elements.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Feedback is provided by staff and demonstrators during the practical as progress is monitored. Feedback for the MCQ-assessed practicals is provide online. The practical reports and worksheet are annotated and returned to students. Laboratory notebook entries are marked commented upon weekly.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Practical ReportDigestive physiology and environmental impact of livestock farming (Phosphorus practical)40.00
Problem Sheetcompletion of practical worksheet15.00
In-course MCQOpen book exam40.00
In-course AssessmentLab notebook entries5.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 25/04/2019


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