Integrated practical work in ecology and biogeography: biodiversity of natural environments

lbio1356  2022-2023  Louvain-la-Neuve

Integrated practical work in ecology and biogeography: biodiversity of natural environments
4.00 credits
10.0 h + 40.0 h
Q1 and Q2
A minimum of experience in the use of flora, basic notions in ecology
Main themes
The students refine their skills in identifying the different taxonomical groups (seed plants, insects, birds), for which they will put together a herbarium and a collection of insects. They have to relate their observations with the environment : soil type, plant community, biogeographical zone, etc. Experiments with germinating the seeds in the soil seed bank teach them how to use this important technique used in determining the restoration potential of a site. Overall, the work will give them the opportunity to fully understand the notions of ecosystems and biodiversity and the problems linked to its conservation.
Learning outcomes

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 These practical exercises illustrate the principles of ecology and biogeography that are addressed in the biogeography and ecology of individuals and populations courses. Their main objective is to develop skills to diagnose a natural environment through the identification of flora and fauna in a site of biological interest, in order to understand the biological value of the site and the conservation methods. They influence the flora and fauna of a given place.
At the very start of the year (first week of the 1st semester), the students are subdivided into groups of (3-)4 or 5 people, and each group will get a different biologically interesting site in Brabant Wallon. They will have to make a complete inventory of the flora, complete with a herbarium collection, and they must identify the insects and birds they encounter. Sessions to learn how to identify insects are organized at the start of the 2nd semester, plus an excursion to learn to recognize birds by their song in April in the 2nd semester. During winter, the students study the seed bank in soil samples taken in their site, by germinating the seeds in the greenhouse and identifying the seedlings.
Teaching methods
The groups work independently and autonomously.
Evaluation methods
Each group hands in their herbarium and their invertebrate collection, as well as a report that describes the flora, fauna and seed bank and relates its elements to each other and to the site. An oral presentation of the results of each group is organized at the end of the semester.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Learning outcomes
Additionnal module in Biology