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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG5332M Global Change Ecology

15 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Roel Brienen

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Undergraduate module in ecology.

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

In this module, you will obtain an overview of the multifaceted impacts of global climate and environmental change on ecosystem functioning and biodiversity. Using a series of case studies, you will gain in-depth insight in the effects of anthropogenic climate change on a range of different ecosystems from leading researchers in the field.You will further study the science behind several broad global issues and be stimulated to critically think of ways of tackling the issues. You will develop skills in synthesising research papers, presenting problems and ideas with clarity and challenging others with logical thought and clear argument.


The aim of the module is to equip students with an understanding of the ecological aspects of global change using a variety of international case studies, covering tropical rainforests, coral reefs, river ecosystems and soil and peatlands.
The module will explore the implications of global and environmental change on ecosystems functioning, community diversity and resilience, its impact on global biogeochemical cycles.

Learning outcomes
-Explain the key drivers behind global change, relating to changes in atmospheric CO2 and climate, as well as land use changes.
-Evaluate the differences between biomes in the relative importance of drivers and the variability in impacts.
-Predict future ecological changes based on an understanding of drivers.
-Explain the non-ecological drivers (i.e. social, economic, political) for the change and impacts in different areas.
-Critically think about, and debate, challenges around global climate change and environmental issues and possible future courses of action and solutions.


The syllabus exists of introductory lectures on global change and the impact on global change on ecosystems from the tropics to the arctic, species┬┐ extinction and migration, and large-scale disturbances including fire, heat and drought, and diseases.
These introductory lectures are followed by specific case studies showcasing the impacts of global change on Amazon rainforest, coral reefs, river ecosystems, insect biodiversity, and peatlands.
The syllabus will further include debate sessions on three broad global issues and ways of tackling these issues. Possible themes include the biodiversity crisis and rewilding, food production and security, and land use debates (sparing versus sharing debate and/or use of carbon markets and REDD+).
There will be at least one local field excursion related to one of these debates (rewilding project).

There will be at least one local field excursion related to one of these debates (UoL farm/rewilding project/carbon credits).

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours121.00
Total Contact hours29.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Private study will include reading of set material before each case study and for the debate sessions. It further includes preparing for presentations and critical viewpoints for the debates.
Additional literature research, reading and writing will be required for the policy brief assessment.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000 words75.00
PresentationGroup presentation 15 minutes25.00
Computer ExerciseGroup0.00
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: 28/04/2023 14:56:07


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