Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE2145 Palaeoecology, Palaeobiology and Evolution

10 creditsClass Size: 130

Module manager: Prof Paul Wignall

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Module replaces


This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This course begins with a study of fossilisation processes and it then demonstrates how fossils are used to understand ancient environments, such as reef ecosystems and deep marine settings. It also demonstrates how fossils can provide information on the nature of evolutionary processes and patterns in groups as diverse as oysters and dinosaurs.- The course consists of a weekly lecture followed by a two hour practical that backs up the lecture material and involves the study of a diverse array of fossils. - There are no prerequisites. - This module is taught throughout semester 1 by lectures and practicals.


On completion of this module, students should be able to have a sound grasp of the use of fossil information in both earth and evolutionary sciences.

The student will be able to utilise palaeoecological and ichnological data to interpret past environments and fossil data to evaluate evolutionary histories. In particular the students will become familiar with marine palaeoenvironments and the analysis of controlling variables such as water depth, palaeoeoxygenation, substrate type.


The course will cover the principals of ecology and how they can be applied in palaeoecological analysis, the use of trace fossils in reconstructing palaeoenvironments, echinoderm palaeobiology and functional morphology of test shape, statistical analysis of palaeodiversity using the R programme, exceptionally preserved biotas - controlling factors and their identification in hand specimen, the use of fossils to determine ancient oxygen levels, micro and macroevolutionary patterns of level bottom communities, construction of cladograms and evolutionary trees, extinctions in the history of life.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours49.00
Total Contact hours51.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Pre-reading for lectures

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Selected practicals will be assessed during the course

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Practical4 assessed practicals30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)30.00

Re-sit is by examination only.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)70.00

Re-sit is by examination only.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2017


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019