Aquatic Ecology

This module provides an introduction to the structure and function of aquatic food webs in freshwater, estuarine and marine environments. Emphasis is placed on the role of nutrients (bottom-up control) and predation (top-down control) on participating organisms in their freshwater, estuarine, and marine environments. Students will understand the importance of algae, whether planktonic or attached, in the primary productivity of aquatic ecosystems and how this is affected by nutrient concentration and composition. The way in which anthropogenic influences can alter the balance of aquatic food webs, and the subsequent problems which may arise, is discussed.

There will be practical sessions on areas such as algae, zooplankton and macroinvertebrates. Workshops will cover the analysis of data using excel, and the characteristics of lake trophic status in The Lake District.