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2023/24 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 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Biology A level or equivalent

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Practicals introduce manual skills and safe working practises in laboratory and field environments, trouble-shooting, the importance of independent replicates and maintenance of accurate records of findings. Practicals will address processes at the molecular, cellular, whole organism and population level within the broader remit of biology and whole organism studies in the laboratory and in the field.


This module introduces core skills for biology and whole organism studies in the laboratory and field. Teaching will be practical-based and supported by introductory lectures that provide the concepts and preparatory material. The major objectives include an understanding and experience of routine laboratory and field techniques, including data collection, analysis and interpretation.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate a conceptual understanding, practical experience and competency of laboratory and field techniques for whole organism and population studies.
2. Calculate percentages, proportionalities, molarity, concentration and dilution factors, and work with solutions in the laboratory
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental biology underpinning the practicals
4. Produce an accurate and detailed written report of a laboratory experiment including analysis and interpretation of the results.

Skills outcomes
- Good Laboratory Practice and adherence to health & safety guidelines
- Core whole organism biology techniques and skills
- Safe working practices with microorganisms
- Planning and conducting laboratory and field research
- Identify good experimental design principles and the concept of the current working model
- Appreciate the importance of detailed and accurate laboratory records and labelling


This module will provide core practical skills to support the study of whole organism biology in the laboratory and field. This will include an introduction to good laboratory practice, including working with solutions, record keeping, and health and safety considerations. Core skills training and experience will be provided for essential techniques.
There will be practicals covering:
- Digestive physiology and environmental impact of livestock farming;
- Microbial fermentation and fractional distillation;
- Arthropod diversity and molecular genotyping;
- Plant identification and invertebrate diversity.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours78.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

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

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Specific feedback will be provided on-line for each assessment to highlight class weaknesses and strengths. Feedback is provided by staff and demonstrators during the practicals. The practical report is annotated and returned to students.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportLab report 1000 words50.00
In-course MCQonline MCQ50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Further guidance on the assessment will be provided in the module handbook/Minerva. 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: 28/04/2023 14:47:50


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