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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG1045 Living Planet

20 creditsClass Size: 120

Module manager: Roel Briennen

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

A firm understanding of the processes that shape the biosphere is key for managing environmental change sustainably. This module explores the relationships between soils, plants, animals and their physical environment - and how humans are modifying these interactions. The module uses a variety of approaches to explore pattern and process in plant-soil systems and how to manage these to mitigate the impact of flooding.


To provide students with an introduction to the major processes that determine current patterns in the terrestrial biosphere, and how these processes underpin decisions about how to manage ecosystems.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module students will be able to:

1) Explain the processes that determine the fluxes of energy and materials within and between the different components of the Earth system
2) Discuss how the key physical and chemical properties of soil are influenced by management
3) Describe and discuss the processes that determine current patterns in the structure, composition and diversity of the biosphere and how these are being modified by humans

Skills outcomes
Critical thinking skills
Numerical skills
Team working skills


The teaching on this module will be organised into blocks.

The blocks may be taught at different times in different years depending on staffing and the timetabling of components on other modules (like fieldtrips). Some blocks may run concurrently.

Block 1. Nutrient cycles and human impacts

This section of the course will consider energy capture and flow, and the carbon, water, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles and how these aspects of the Earth system are being perturbed by humans

Block 2: The basis of terrestrial life: soils

This section of the course will consider how soils are made, their properties and how they are affected by management

Block 3: The ecological processes that underpin life on earth
This section of the course will explore how evolution led to the diversity of life, the processes that structure the biosphere today and the impacts of human activity

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours169.00
Total Contact hours31.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- Lectures will be accompanied by reading lists (textbooks and journal articles), with an expectation of around two hours reading in support of each lecture.
- Further private study time will be spent in preparing coursework and revising for the exam, and in preparing group posters
- Students will also be required to listen and engage with three e-lectures in their own time.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

-Oral feedback will be given during sessions.
- Feedback on the coursework will be provided via documents posted on Minerva

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Lab NotebookLab book25.00
PosterGroup poster25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 30 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

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: 29/04/2022 15:32:19


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