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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LLLC0179 The Biology of Populations

10 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Kathryn Plant

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module incorporates aspects of genetics, evolution and ecology, and by taking the module students will gain an understanding of how organisms interact with each other and their environment, both currently and through evolutionary history. Within workshop styled sessions, students will have the opportunity to manipulate datasets, make conclusions from evidence and work through scenarios as way of understanding the underpinning science.


The aim of this module is to enable students to develop a theoretical and practical understanding of selected topics in population biology. The module is delivered via workshop style teaching, in order to help students to build their analytical approaches to apply this knowledge to interpret real-world scenarios.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module, student will be able to:

1. Explain Mendel’s principles of segregation and independent assortment, with reference to the experiments that led to these theories

2. Distinguish between different modes of inheritance and apply this knowledge to solve genetic problems, presenting solutions in an appropriately organised manner

3. Discuss how various factors might influence the relationship between genotype and phenotype, and recognise how this can be evaluated using the Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium Principle

4. Summarise the evidence that led to the development of the Theory of Evolution, and discuss the mechanisms which drive evolutionary change

5. Explain core concepts in ecology including: key definitions; aspects of population ecology; biodiversity; and community ecology

6. Analyse and interpret ecological data in relation to the concepts above, presenting information using precise language, and scientific terminology

Skills outcomes
This module will introduce, provide opportunities to practice, and assess the following skills:

- Communication of biological information using precise language, and scientific terminology and notation

- Presentation and interpretation of data to support biological concepts

- Problem solving and critical thinking


The content will be delivered through integrated lecture-workshops which will cover the following aspects of population biology:

- Genetics: patterns of inheritance and gene distribution

- Evolution and adaptation

- Ecology of populations and communities; biodiversity and conservation

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours10.00
Private study hours60.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

This module is designed to incorporate traditional lecture material into a workshop format – most sessions will include some element of hands-on practice in terms of data manipulation or practical skills development. Within this framework there are opportunities for formative feedback, from the lecturer and also in the form of self- or peer-feedback. Practice resources are available for problem style questions, and students are able to gain feedback on their attempts.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Problem SheetGenetics and ecology problems50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Coursework will be released and submitted as a single assessment, however students will be encouraged to tackle problems as the relevant material is covered, on a week-by-week basis.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Resits for the exam component of the module will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt during the July Resit period, in most cases, or during the next available opportunity.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 04/04/2023


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