We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more
Oxford University Press - Online Resource Centres

Beeby & Brennan: First Ecology - Ecological Principles and Environmental Issues 3e

Virtual field course

The virtual field course consists of several virtual field exercises which use data collected by the authors in Portugal, France and the UK. As well as the data files the exercises contain instructions for students (aims, method, background, analysis), video, photos, maps, cross-references to relevant sections of the book and links to further resources.

The virtual field exercises are listed below including brief descriptions. Click on a link below to begin an exercise. Each exercise will open in a new window, most require Excel.

Further information for tutors is available in the Lecturer area of this site.

  • Good Neighbours
    Clustering of snails on fennel stalks
    This exercise supports the discussion of species interactions of Chapter 4, though the nature of this clustering, especially between species, is yet to be fully worked out. The exercise requires you to think how you may extract meaning from a simple data set by presenting the results in several ways.

  • Future Shock
    Scoping likely impacts on a Mediterranean coastal plain
    This exercise requires you to think beyond a purely ecological context. By looking at the changes in a Mediterranean landscape likely to be affected by a significant rise in sea levels, it draws principally upon material from Chapters 5, 8 and 9. It prompts you to review the possible implications of ecological change for the social and economic life of a community, and secondly to derive ideas and scenarios that might be testable.

  • Landscape by numbers
    Species-area relationships in the plants of the garrigue
    This exercise provides data from a simple survey of grassland plants, rather as suggested at the beginning of Chapter 9. The results, provide an illustration of the species-area principle. The analysis requires you to use a non-linear plot to derive the terms of the equation, and you may then go on to consider how robust this pattern might be under a different sampling regime.

  • Sands of time
    Plant succession and soil development on a Mediterranean sand dune
    This extends the description in Chapter 5 of a Mediterranean sand dune succession, by providing data on the chemistry of the 'soil' as well as the distribution of the plant species. The exercise requires you to organise and present your data to illustrate sequential change.

  • On the rocks
    Species zonation on a rocky shore in south eastern England
    This exercise seeks to explore the zonation of a rocky shore on the Kent coast of south eastern England. It draws on materials in Chapters 2 and 8 and allows you to practice graph-drawing skills (either by hand or computer). It also requires you to interpret the changes in species distribution and relate these to environmental factors which underlie rocky shore zonation.

  • Life on the edge
    The role of plant life strategies in restoring spoil from the Channel Tunnel
    This exercise examines the results of a programme to restore chalk spoil excavated during the construction of the Channel Tunnel. It draws on materials in Chapters 5 and 7 and analyses the plant community which has developed on the site in the twelve years after restoration.