Neotropical Rainforests

Module code: GY3306

Module co-ordinator: Dr Juan Carlos Berrio

Module Outline

This module provides you with a unique insight into the neotropical rainforest biome.  It incorporates a component of fieldwork on tropical ecology, but also examines theoretical aspects.  During a two week fieldtrip, you will engage in small research practicals both in terrestrial and aquatic tropical ecosystems.  The terrestrial aspect of the course covers methods in plant ecology (floristic and structural analyses), soil survey and soil biology. Visits to  indigenous communities offer possibilities for studying traditional agriculture fields (locally called Chagras) characterised by a slash-and-burn activity.  The aquatic aspect consists of sampling and analysing water samples from floodplain lakes to evaluate the abiotic and biotic parameters that control phyto/zooplanctonic populations in lotic and lentic environments.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the the end of this module, students should be able to:

  • Discuss the different types of tropical rainforest environments
  • Evaluate traditional land-use methods and their impact on the natural environment
  • Widen further knowledge in Amazonian rainforests structure and composition
  • Evaluate tree species distribution in different forest types
  • Undertake various aspects of practical biogeographic field work in the neotropics: e.g. vegetation surveys, sediment collection, water and soil sampling

Teaching and Learning Methods

Lectures; Tutorials; Field Work and Independent Study.

Assessment Method

  • Fieldwork Report

Additional Information

An additional fee is payable for this module to cover the costs of travel and subsistence abroad. Student numbers on this module are necessarily tightly capped for logistic and health & safety reasons. In the likely event that the module is oversubscribed, a random draw will be used to resolve the competition for places.