MSc & MRes, Biodiversity Conservation



Protected Species Surveying ARES40110


Assignment Title: Principles of wildlife surveys

Your summative assessment must only be submitted electronically, as a Word document to the Dropbox in NOW on or before the date for submission



Analyse the data from one of the wildlife surveys listed below and use the results to draw appropriate conclusions about the survey giving a critical evaluation of the survey method.

Tasks (objectives)

  1. Select one of the following surveys:
  • Multi-species mammal monitoring with cameras
  • Great crested newt population monitoring
  • Bird territory mapping (yellowhammers)
  1. You will be given data from previous years (for camera trapping and great crested newt monitoring) or that has been created for the purposes of this task (yellowhammer territory mapping).
  2. Working individually, introduce the chosen survey and research question to be answered.
  3. Describe the methodology used and justify the method, timing and survey effort used.
  4. Analyse the data.
  5. Report your findings in the style of a scientific report, highlighting the limitations of your study, including a critical evaluation of the survey method used, and compare your findings with the literature.

Further guidelines

Critically evaluate the importance of the survey method in relation to the validity of the survey results. The advantages and disadvantages of the survey method and the quality and types of data it produces should be discussed in context of the aims of any survey. You are also required to produce firm conclusions about the importance of your topic to produce accurate or precise survey data.


Suggested reading and sources of information (A full and comprehensive reading list can be found on the Resource List on NOW)


Sutherland W.J. (2006) Ecological Census Techniques: A Handbook. 2nd Edition. Cambridge University Press.

Assessment Scheme

Equal weighting will be given to each of the sections listed in the assessment grid. The report contributes 100% of the module grade.

Module Learning Outcomes Addressed

  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of most recent developments in wildlife survey techniques and methods used to survey and protect wildlife.
  • Critically evaluate current survey methods and techniques for wildlife surveying used in population monitoring.
  • Communicate scientific information to a wider audience
  • Carry out surveys of specific faunal taxa.
  • Communicate scientific information to a wider audience.
  • Collect and integrate information from a variety of sources with a multidisciplinary approach and apply knowledge gained in practice.

Course Specific Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate a systematic comprehensive knowledge of taxonomic and survey techniques used by conservation practitioners.
  • Analyse current biodiversity conservation issues and priorities at local, national,

European and global level and critically assess law and policy relating thereto in terms of its doctrinal and practical coherence.

  • Critically evaluate techniques used to survey specific taxa and extrapolate from

existing research and scholarship to identify new or revised approaches to surveying and the analysis of data.

  • Evaluate the rigour and validity of published research and assess its relevance to new situations.
  • Demonstrate the ability to recognise, apply and address ethical dilemmas and

corporate social responsibility issues, applying ethical and organisational values to situations.

  • Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Demonstrate expertise in advanced research, technical, communication and professional skills.
  • Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level.

Extenuating Circumstances

If you believe that you are not going to meet a deadline due to exceptional circumstances beyond your control, then you may apply for an extension through the Notification of Extenuating Circumstances (NEC) procedures ( Extensions to deadlines due to extenuating circumstances can only be authorised by one of the School’s NEC Contacts. Documentary evidence is required to support claims. Please note that Course and Module Leaders CANNOT authorise extensions.

Specific Penalties

  • Assessments that are submitted up to five working days after the submission deadline will be entitled to a maximum grade of a low pass.
  • Assessments that are submitted more than five working days after the submission deadline will be awarded a grade of zero.
  • The submission deadline relates to both the submission of a paper copy and the submission of an electronic copy of the assessment, if required.
  • Failure to acknowledge sources, both in the text and in the reference list, may incur a penalty. For further details, see the University’s guidance on referencing (

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