APS 341 Evolution of Terrestrial Ecoystems

Level 3
Semester 1B
Credits 10
Pre Requisite APS269 Palaeobiology
Teaching Staff Professor Charles Wellman
Co-ordinator Professor Charles Wellman


This modules aims to give the student an understanding of the major events in the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems from their origin to the present day (essentially how they have changed and the timescale for these changes). It will emphasize the interrelationships between evolution, global change, and plant/fungal/animal interaction and co-evolution. It will also explain the methods by which past terrestrial ecosystems are reconstructed.


This module examines the evolution of terrestrial ecosytems, from invasion on the land by plants and animals in the Ordovician (475 million years ago) up to the present day. All of the major events will be covered: the origins of land plants; the invasion of the land by invertebrate animals (worms, insects etc.); the first forests; the origin of amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds; beginnings of phytogeographical differentiation; origin of the flowering plant etc. Throughout the course the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems will be considered in light of: (i) the interrelationships between global change and evolving terrestrial ecosystems; (ii) plant-fungal-animal interactions and coevolution.

Delivery Method: 15 Lectures

Students Contact Hours: 15

Assessment Method:  Coursework

Assessment Weighting: 100% Coursework

TurnItIn Submission: Coursework

Feedback: Students will receive feedback on coursework before the end of the semester and will be available for review at the start of the following semester.

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