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Aerial view of Manchester, showing some of South Campus.

Urban Biodiversity field course

Assess conservation value and the impact of urban life in Manchester by undertaking a unique group research project.

This is a non-residential second year field course, based in and around Manchester, which introduces you to skills that are crucial in environmental consultancy, conservation, and natural site management.

In the first half of the course you will visit sites around Manchester to examine ecosystems that are impacted by urban development.

The first week focuses on freshwater, sampling streams in South Manchester and visiting Salford Quays. Samples are identified back in the lab, and tested to assess water quality and understand the impacts of pollution and management.

“The urban biodiversity field course gave me an enjoyable insight into the techniques used to survey biodiversity in several different habitats. Having the task of carrying out your own project allowed me to experience what being an ecologist, a possible future career, would be like.”

Robert Mansbridge / Zoology student

In week two focus shifts to terrestrial systems. You will visit a nature reserve in Chorlton-cum-Hardy and a site of scientific interest in Bolton. You'll employ various survey techniques to assess the conservation value of the sites. In the lab you will be trained in identification skills, using plants and invertebrates.

In the final two weeks of the unit you will carry out a group project. Each group identifies a semi-natural site in the Manchester area, researches its history, and surveys the vegetation and wildlife. Results are presented as a group poster and an individual written report, both of which form the assessment for the unit.