“Conservation is a state of mind”
IB Ecology is nothing like A-level Ecology. Not even slightly.
In Ecology you start off looking at humans impacts on the planet, ecological cycles and applications, factors shaping global vegetation, and finishing Michaelmas with a look at ecosystem productivity and a big focus on climate change.
Lent term covers biodiversity and ecosystem functions, why we should conserve things, freshwater ecology, foraging behaviour and interactions between predators and prey, and evolutionary ecology.
Easter looks at palaeoecology and human migrations.
Ecology has a stellar line-up of lecturers, such that almost everything is incredibly interesting, relevant to life outside of Cambridge, and important to have studied.
There are various one-day trips throughout the year to a conservation site, a historic woodland under changing management, and a recycling plant, which give you a chance to escape the bubble and get a hands-on feel for what you’re studying.
Furthermore, in the Summer most students take part in one of two 10-day field-courses which provide data for a IB project. If you can’t make either field course you can instead do a term-time project which are offered at the start of the year. Projects are a great way to get some experience researching and writing up that research, and also mean you have no practical exam at the end of the year.
Exam-wise there are two 3hr essay papers, each of which requires 4 essays from a choice of 10 (2 per lecturer for half the course respectively of which you can do a maximum of 1 per lecturer).
Generally everyone who does Ecology loves it as a course. It pairs particularly well with Animal Biology or Plant Sciences.
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