LSC-30066 - Tropical Biology Field Course
Coordinator: Dmitry Kishkinev
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 734414

Programme/Approved Electives for 2024/25


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2024/25

This exciting opportunity enables Keele's trainee biologists to witness at first hand the challenges facing tropical ecological systems and how humans are impacting on sensitive ecological niches. You will gain training in the importance of biodiversity in the tropics from experts in the field, as well as experience of international travel and of other cultures. The field course is hosted by the University of Sains, Malaysia (USM), whose expertise in a range of aspects of tropical ecology and conservation will ensure that you will gain cutting edge knowledge in the field.
It is envisaged that the cost of the course will be approx 1250. This price includes all the activities on the course, accommodation and food while students are staying at field stations and transport to the various field destinations. In addition, students will be expected to purchase their own return flights to Penang (estimated cost ~500) and all meals during the field course (estimated cost ~8 per day per student). While in Penang students will pay for their own accommodation. The cost of staying in a good hotel is 16 per night, and student accommodation at USM is considerably cheaper.

To give students a good grounding in the biology of tropical ecosystems and global conservation issues.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Critically discuss important issues in a selected area of tropical biology or ecology: 1,2,3
Evaluate and explain the ecology of diverse tropical ecosystems and their use by humans: 1,2,3
Report on an aspect of tropical biology or ecology following investigation of that aspect in a project: 3
Produce and present a short talk on a research topic within tropical biology: 1

Study hours

Contact time will be primarily during the field course in Malaysia, which includes such activities as lectures, presentations, fieldwork, data collection and analysis, and it also includes tutorials supporting assessments in Keele = 96 hours
Presentation preparation time = 10 hours
Independent study and report write up = 44 hours

School Rules

Minimum number of students for the module to run would be 5 students and the maximum is 20. The latter is due to the limited accommodation capacity at University Sains Malaysia, USM.

Description of Module Assessment

1: Presentation weighted 20%
Presentation on a research topic within tropical ecology
While at University Sains Malaysia students will give individual presentation to peers and staff on a research aspect of tropical ecology. Students will be awarded marks by Keele tutors. Presentations will be 15 minutes.

2: Workbook weighted 10%
Field Notebook
Students will be required to keep extensive notes and data sets of field-sites' visits and undertake critical assessment of field studies undertaken. They will be given training in how to keep a field notebook. The notebooks will be marked by Keele staff during semester 1.

3: Report weighted 70%
Individual project write-up
Students will carry out a short group project while on the field course. They will then produce an individual report on this project during semester 1 of Level 6. The report will be up to 3000 words and supported by group tutorials.