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LEC.432: Lake Ecology

Department: Lancaster Environment Centre NCF Level: FHEQ/QCF/NQF7//RQF7
Study Level: Postgraduate (Masters level) Credit Points: 15.0
Start Date: 06-10-2014 End Date: 07-11-2014
Available for Online Enrolment?: Y Enrolment Restriction: Fully available to all students
Module Convenor: Professor PA Barker

Syllabus Rules and Pre-requisites

Curriculum Design: Outline Syllabus





    Week 1





    Week  2




    Week  3

    Week  4




    Week 5


    Major drivers of lake ecology

    Overview to the structure and rationale of the course

    Introduction to lakes and their role in the landscape and global cycling

    Nutrient sources to lakes

    Lake physics & atmospheric drivers

    Changing lakes

    Sediments as a record of change

    Acidification & recovery

    Records of long-term change

      Methods of sampling lakes: field trip on Windermere

    Trophic interactions


    Fish biology

    Trophic interactions & alternative stable states

    Approaches to lake management

    Molecular methods in freshwater ecology.

    Lake modelling

    Multiple stressors & the Water Framework Directive


    P Barker

    S Maberly

    T Page

    I Jones


    P Barker

    D Monteith

    S Maberly

    S Maberly


    S Thackeray

    I Winfield

    H Feuchtmayr


    R Groben

    A Elliott

    S Thackeray








    Week 1


    Week  2


    Week 3

    Week 4

    Week 5

    Use of high-frequency lake measurements to estimate physical factors & response to climate forcing

    Identification of plankton using microscopy & overview of modern techniques


    Methods of sampling lakes: field trip to Windermere (as above)

    Modelling lake responses to external forcing

    Student presentations



    Thackeray & Groben



    Elliott & Page

Curriculum Design: Pre-requisites/Co-requisites/Exclusions

  • Basic knowledge of Ecology

Curriculum Design: Single, Combined or Consortial Schemes to which the Module Contributes

  • MSc Sustainable Water Management
    MSc Ecology and the Environment
    MRes Science of the Environment
    MSc Science and Technology
  • 20% Presentation (Assessed)
  • 80% Report

Assessment: Details of Assessment

  • Presentation and Report make up the Coursework element (total 50% of assessment)
    Examination 2 hrs, answer 2 questions out of 3.
    The assessment is split between an exam, a report and a presentation.  Report writing and presentational skills are essential in preparing students for future careers whereas the exam will be used to test the fundamental science behind the module. 

Educational Aims: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • The aim of this module is to learn to:

    This module aims to introduce the principles of lake ecology, an area with an acknowledged national lack of expertise. The course presents a holistic approach to the drivers and internal interactions that control water quality in lakes. The course will teach basic ecological principles, elucidated using lake ecology, introduce application of state-of-the-art techniques and provide essential background information for anyone dealing with EU Directives such as the Water Framework Directive in the future.


Educational Aims: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • To give students experience of working with CEH and expand their horizons beyond the university classroom into an area of applied science.  To offer an interdisciplinary course mixing physical science with biology as well placing these in a management/ policy context.

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to...
    Identify the processes leading to nutrient inputs to lakes

    Demonstrate a knowledge of the effects of climate change on lakes

    Identify the factors controlling fish populations
    Understand the potential and limits of state-of-the-art techniques in lake ecology 
    Appreciate the principles and uses of lake and catchment modelling

Learning Outcomes: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to...

    Understand the fundamentals of how lakes function

    Understand the tools and approaches needed to study and manage lakes

    Appreciate the complex interplay between external drivers and internal interactions within lakes

    Understand the science underpinning the Water Framework Directive

Contact Information

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