- Introduction to mammals and reptiles: ‘A good detective knows their mark’; what is a mammal?; what is a reptile?
- Rationale for surveying mammals and reptiles - why survey?: Ecological objectives; legal objectives; utilisation objectives; model or indicator species objectives
- Conducting a survey - basic considerations: Defining the principles; first steps and considerations; the observer effect
- Choosing a survey technique: direct and indirect techniques: direct and indirect techniques (trapping, noosing, hand capturing, marking individuals); A classification of direct and indirect survey techniques
- Direct techniques: observations, total counts, trapping and restraint
- Indirect techniques: field sign surveys; camera traps and surveillance
- Designing a sampling strategy or protocol: Standard protocols; random, systematic and stratified samples; line transects and quadrats; mapping and trapping
- Recording and storing data: Designing a data recording sheet; storing data
- Data application - making sure you have the right data to accomplish your survey goals: What type of data?; Indices for analysing mammal and reptile survey data
- Case study: the badger project, Wytham Woods, UK
Your course tutor will guide you through a series of key topics via reading materials, online activities, and discussion forums. Discussion forums are the primary space where students are able to interact with one another and their tutor to discuss questions, solve problems and share ideas just as they would expect to do in a face-to-face classroom setting.
Level and demands
The course is designed for Master’s-level students, and you are likely to be studying alongside students on our Postgraduate Certificate in Ecological Survey Techniques.
You can expect
- to engage with and contribute to the course around ten to 15 hours per week (depending on whether it is taken for credit or not)
- your course tutor will engage online for no less than six hours per week (usually distributed across each week and will focus on particular topics and activities)
- topics to be covered following a suggested calendar of activity (so that activities, discussion and reading are completed within the course week duration, and at an even pace)
- the course can be taken with or without Masters-level credit. Credit enables students to demonstrate their academic achievement and can count towards further postgraduate study