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Urban Ecology

Duration 10 weekly meetings plus 1 Saturday day school
Tutor Dr Jim Vafidis
Course code SCI24A5582A
Fee £196
Concessionary fee £157 (find out about eligibility and funding options)

50-51 Park Place
CF10 3AT

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Urban Ecology offers an in-depth exploration of ecological dynamics in urban settings.

Each week, learners engage in theoretical discussions and practical excursions to local urban ecosystems, enhancing their understanding of how urban environments influence biodiversity.

The course covers the identification and roles of plants, trees, birds, bats, small mammals, and insects, emphasising conservation and sustainable urban planning.

Special attention is given to practical skills, such as species identification and ecological impact assessments, preparing learners to contribute to urban biodiversity management and conservation efforts.

Learning and teaching

Teaching will include lectures, discussions, and field-based activities. Spanning a semester of 8 weeks, with 2-hour weekly evening sessions and a Saturday class, students will explore diverse topics such as bird and bat ecology, the dynamics of urban water bodies, and the health of urban soils.

Each session is structured to provide ample time for in-field observations and discussions, encouraging students to actively engage with and debate the ecological phenomena observed during excursions.

Practical sessions will take students directly into varied urban ecosystems to engage in activities such as species identification, ecological monitoring, and environmental impact assessments.

Group projects will focus on analysing the interactions between urban development and local wildlife, and role-playing exercises will simulate the complexities of urban ecological management.

This hands-on approach not only helps students learn theoretical concepts but also apply them in practical, impactful ways, fostering a comprehensive understanding of urban ecology.

Coursework and assessment

The coursework will involve conducting an ecology study focused on urban environments.

This project will enable you to actively engage with local ecosystems, observing and analysing the interplay between urban development and natural habitats.

Through this practical investigation, you'll gain deeper insights into urban biodiversity and ecological dynamics.

There will be a class test at the end of the course. This assessment is designed to be approachable and reinforcing, ensuring you feel supported as you demonstrate your understanding of the material covered.

Together, these components aim to enhance your knowledge and skills in urban ecology in an enjoyable and enriching manner.

Reading suggestions

  • Gaston, K (2010) Urban Ecology
  • Parris, K (2016) Ecology of Urban Environments
  • Douglas, I (2021) Handbook of Urban Ecology

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.