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Module BO3121: Field Skills in Plant and Environmental Science (Canary Islands)

Module BO3121
Co-ordinators: Professor Jane Stout (Spring Field Course leader)
Other Lecturers: Professor Trevor Hodkinson, Professor Fraser Mitchell, Professor Michael Williams, Professor John Parnell and Professor Stephen Waldren
Course Type: Mandatory (Plant Sciences), Optional (Environmental Sciences)
Assessment: 100% Continual Assessment
ECTS: 5 credits


Contact hours:

Lectures: 10 hours

40 hours

Total 50 hours


The lecture series explores the flora and ecology of a range of Mediterranean and tropical plant communities, with a focus on the Canary Islands. We start by analysing the climatic features that define these regions, and review some associated features of the environment and soils.  We assess the impacts of climate change and deforestation. We assess the plant diversity of these regions and the importance of biodiversity conservation in both local and global contexts. We also focus on some characteristic plant groups of Mediterranean and tropical regions. The lectures series prepares for and culminates in the overseas field-course in Gran Canaria.
The Gran Canaria (Canary Islands) Field Course will be held in the study week of Semester 2. The aims of the course are:

  • To be introduced to a subtropical island flora with a high floristic diversity and a complex biogeographical make-up.
  • To record the plant communities across a range of environments, differing in rainfall, altitude, degree of disturbance, etc.
  • To investigate the ecophysiology of the native flora over the range of habitats studied.
  • To assess the threat to biodiversity posed by invasive alien plant species.

Assessment: Write-up + field notebook

Learning outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Describe the flora of warmer regions (even if you don’t know what group a plant belongs to, you should feel equipped with the skills to find out)
  • Demonstrate fieldcraft in a diversity of natural and anthropogenic ecosystems
  • Describe and discuss the complex interaction of factors that govern plant communities
  • Discuss the natural and cultural landscape, from the local to the international scale
  • Discuss the flora of the Canary Islands, and assess the ecological and biogeographic patterns of plant distribution in the archipelago.

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Last updated 1 May 2013