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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG1051 Living Earth

20 creditsClass Size: 120

Module manager: Roel Brienen

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

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module will provide students with a firm understanding of the processes that shape the biosphere is key for managing environmental change. 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.


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
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 hours165.00
Total Contact hours35.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

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
Group ProjectGroup poster - Max 500 words25.00
Lab NotebookIndividual soil lab report25.00
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
Online MCQ2 hr 00 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: 28/04/2023 14:56:05


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