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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BLGY1128 Living Planet

20 creditsClass Size: 200

Module manager: Sebastian Stroud

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Living Planet provides students with an overview of the evolution and diversity of life, from bacteria to whales. As well as an overview of the evolutionary processes that have generated the world’s biodiversity, students will also learn about the key features that define each group and the role of those taxa in ecological processes. Each group of organisms will be linked to a major global challenge or sustainable development goal, including food security, disease, and wildlife conservation, to demonstrate how science informs important societal issues.


The goal of the module is to introduce all School of Biology students to biological principles from whole organisms to planetary scales. Key features include:(i) an introduction to evolution as the mechanism by which biodiversity is produced,(ii) a broad overview of key taxa,(iii) a summary of ecological principles from population to community to ecosystem to biosphere, and(iv) the linking of that fundamental knowledge to solutions to real world problems.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module, students will be able to-
1. Identify the principles of evolution by natural selection and how they have created global biodiversity
2. Recall and select the defining traits of a range of biological taxa, and the mechanisms by which they evolved.
3. Evaluate threats to biodiversity in the context of ecological knowledge across a broad range of taxa
4. Evaluate how ecological knowledge, research and technology can be used to design solutions to global challenges.

Skills Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
5. Describe and evaluate different perspectives in evolutionary theory and biodiversity conservation using critical thinking skills
6. Research and organise information relating to threats to biodiversity using a variety of digital resources. 


Details of the syllabus will be provided on the Minerva organisation (or equivalent) for the module.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours167.00
Total Contact hours33.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Panels of formative MCQs will be released after weeks of teaching at an appropriate time to allow revision and incorporation of results into learning. These will also enable practice of the style and content of the summative MCQ during the module.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Online AssessmentOTLA25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)25.00

This OTLA usually takes place at the end of week 7 and assesses the first section of the course.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment1 hr 75.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)75.00

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: 13/05/2024


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