LSC-20055 - Life at the extremes
Coordinator: David R Hulse Room: HUX204B Tel: +44 1782 7 33640
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 734414

Programme/Approved Electives for 2020/21


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2020/21

'Life at the Extremes' is an integrated module that combines problem-based learning in the field with traditional lecture-based learning to investigate how life survives in a variety of extreme environments. The field course component of the module enables students to experience the realities of data collection in the field, which is an essential part of a biology programme. Follow-up labs provide time to collate, analyse and interpret collected data and compare between project groups, demonstrating the innate variability of field data and the problems of measurement error. The taught component in semester 1 will further explore the issues of living in extreme environments. In addition, tutorials will provide training in effective report writing to prepare students for their final year projects.
Indicative content:
Module split into two components: (i) Field Course based at Bangor University during the summer vacation following the first year, and (ii) tutorials and lectures in semester 1 of the second year. The Field Course will investigate life in the extreme environment of the intertidal zone and adjacent maritime habitats of North Wales. Follow-up tutorials during semester 1 will give students an opportunity to develop their project reports, and semester lectures will provide more detailed information on how life survives in an array of extreme environments, including the origins of life on Earth, deep oceans and polar regions.

To enable students to experience data collection in the field, execute and write up a project, and understand how life can live in extreme environments, such as the intertidal zone of North Wales.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

identify and classify, with and without keys, a range of organisms in the lab and in-situ in their respective habitats: 1
identify and assess the ethical considerations and hazards associated with field work, and take necessary precautions: 1
formulate a research hypothesis to address an aspect of extreme environments, working in a team carry out a field investigation and communicate the results in a written form: 2,3
define the concept of an "extreme environment", and compare and contrast a variety of adaptations that enable resident organisms to survive: 1,4
describe, assess and compare the abundance and distribution of organisms based on field observations within a range of habitats, and relate to their determining abiotic and biotic factors: 1,3

Study hours

Scheduled learning
14 hours lectures (8 during field course, 6 during semester)
45 hours labs/field/travel (field course)
3 hours tutorials (semester)
Independent study
1 hour lab exam (field course)
1 hour seen exam (semester)
86 hours private study

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Multiple Choice Questions - Knowledge weighted 20%
Multiple choice questions (MCQ), short questions, identification of hand specimens
Unseen 1 hour lab test composed of a mix of MCQ and short questions, as well as identification of key plant and animal species

2: Group Project weighted 10%
Professional skills assessment
Marks are awarded to each student based on a range of professional skills that the student is able to demonstrate across the project. Skills include: awareness of and compliance with health and safety; ethics; time keeping; organisation; independence; preparation; technical competence; working in a group; problem-solving and communication skills.

3: Individual Report weighted 30%
2500 word project write-up
Individual write-up of project report (2,500 words).

4: Exam weighted 40%
1 hour seen exam
1 hour seen exam based on essay question released two weeks before exam