The Natural World

Module code: F8510
Level 4
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Lecture
Assessment modes: Unseen examination, Coursework

This interdisciplinary module provides you with a foundation for studying physical geography and ecology. After introducing systems theory and major evolutionary and ecological questions, it considers geology (Earth structure and composition, continental drift, plate tectonics, geological time), setting a framework for studying macro-evolution (patterns and processes, history of life, major extinctions and radiations, historical biogeography). This is followed by an introduction to earth system science, focusing on the hydrosphere and biosphere, and leads into macro-ecology, where we discuss local to global patterns of biodiversity, factors controlling species distribution and abundance, biogeography.

Module learning outcomes

  • 1. Recognise the environments and landscapes formed by biophysical processes operating within the geo-ecosphere at a range of temporal and spatial scales, and explain how human actions have modified them.
  • 2. Identify and evaluate the pattern and dynamic nature of spatial variation at the surface of the Earth and throughout the global climate system.
  • 3. Describe and appraise the interactions between biophysical and human processes, particularly in terms of risks and natural hazards.
  • 4. Apply geographical concepts, techniques and expertise to problem solving, environmental monitoring and modelling, sustainability and conservation of the natural environment.