Field Techniques for Surveying Invertebrates
About the course
This part-time tutored online course offers expert-led training in invertebrate surveying techniques from planning and preparations through to sampling strategies, surveying methods and reporting. The course aims to create a rich workshop experience, encouraging direct student and tutor interaction and discussion.
You will receive highly practical expert training, helping you to
- develop interception and responsive trapping techniques
- explore identification and taxonomic considerations
- build your understanding of habitat description and evaluation, managing specimens
- interpret and report invertebrate survey data
Who the course is for
Professional ecological consultants, environmental managers and rangers, research and postgraduate students, and volunteers. The techniques covered are universal, and we use international case studies and examples.
Flexible online learning
Students typically study on this course alongside their work.
You can take this online course from anywhere in the world with a good internet connection. You can log on at any time of the day and access our specially designed course materials, e-learning resources and tutor-led discussion forums. You will have access to the Bodleian Libraries’ online, which provides an excellent range of e-books and e-journals, enabling you to conduct your research and reading in your own time.
The course can help you to apply for Chartered Status (such as Chartered Environmentalist and Chartered Ecologist), and to meet relevant professional competency thresholds. Further information can be found in our Chartered status and essential skills guide.
- Rationale and practicalities of invertebrate surveys: Why survey invertebrates?; practicalities of invertebrate surveys; types of survey
- Before starting - planning and preparation: Preparing for an invertebrate survey; a wider context for your survey
- Field methods 1 - active methods: Targeted searching; extractive sampling from habitats
- Field methods 2 - interception trapping: Interception trapping – principles; flight interception trapping; pitfall trapping
- Field methods 3 - responsive trapping: Water, pan or frisbee traps; light trapping; baited trapping
- Sorting, identification and taxonomic considerations: Initial sorting of samples; identification and naming
- Sampling strategies: Sampling versus searching?; Location and number of samples
- Invertebrate habitat description and evaluation: Introduction to invertebrate habitat features; identifying microhabitats; measuring and recording heterogeneity
- Invertebrate survey for monitoring: Introduction to monitoring invertebrates; single species survey and monitoring; monitoring assemblages
- data and specimens - what to do with them; survey results - interpreting; writing up and reporting
Your course tutor will guide you through a series of key topics via reading materials, online activities, and discussion forums. Discussion forums are the primary space where students are able to interact with one another and their tutor to discuss questions, solve problems and share ideas just as they would expect to do in a face-to-face classroom setting.
Level and demands
The course is designed for Master’s-level students, and you are likely to be studying alongside students on our Postgraduate Certificate in Ecological Survey Techniques.
You can expect
- to engage with and contribute to the course around ten to 15 hours per week (depending on whether it is taken for credit or not).
- your course tutor will engage online for no less than six hours per week (usually distributed across each week and will focus on particular topics and activities).
- topics to be covered following a suggested calendar of activity (so that activities, discussion and reading are completed within the course week duration, and at an even pace).
- the course can be taken with or without Masters-level credit. Credit enables students to demonstrate their academic achievement and can count towards further postgraduate study.
You can choose to study for academic credit or simply for the learning experience.
Students taking the course for credit submit an assignment of up to 2000 words or equivalent.
We offer Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points for the course. By contributing to all the forums and successfully completing the assessment you will obtain 10 CATS-equivalent points (FHEQ level 7) which may count towards a Masters-level qualification. You will also receive a University of Oxford Certificate of Attendance.
For information on CATS points and credit transfer, including conversion to US academic credits and European academic credits (ECTS), please visit our CATS Points FAQ page.
Students taking the course not for credit do not submit an assignment.
By actively participating in at least one online course forum post per week, to the satisfaction of the course tutor, and successfully completing the course, you will receive a University of Oxford Certificate of Attendance.
Certificate of Attendance
You may receive a Certificate of Attendance whether you opt for accredited or non-accredited study (provided that you have met the requirements stated above).
This course is delivered online and uses the Department’s online assignment submission system (for the course assignment). In order to meet course requirements, students will need access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.
Accredited study: £770.00
Non-accredited study: £440.00
Student rate (non-accredited Study): £330.00
Course DirectorDr Thomas Hesselberg’s research focuses on behavioural ecology and comparative biomechanics of invertebrates primarily using spiders and their webs as model organisms. In particular, he is interested in how behavioural plasticity has evolved to cope with the constraints imposed by a relatively limited brain capacity and with the biomechanical constraints imposed by morphological and external environmental factors as well as silk material properties.
TutorHis research focuses around the beneficial, and antagonistic roles of insects in agricultural ecosystems. In particular, he is interested in how insect biodiversity drives the delivery of ecosystem functions and services. He is also interested in fruit-feeding insect pests: both on identifying sustainable ways to manage populations, and understanding how feeding damage affects the nutritional value of the fruit.
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Apply to take the course for academic credit
If you are applying to take this course for academic credit you will need to complete and return the following documents, alongside a copy of your CV. Please ensure you read the guidance notes before completing the application form, as any errors resulting from failure to do so may delay your application.
Apply to take the course not for academic credit
If you do not wish to take this course for academic credit you will need to complete and return the following document, or use the enrol onlinebutton below. Please ensure you read the guidance notes before completing the application form, as any errors resulting from failure to do so may delay your application.
All candidates will need to:
- Hold a minimum qualification equivalent to a first Honours Degree (BA, BSc, etc). Non-graduates may be considered if they are able to demonstrate considerable experience in a relevant field. If in doubt, please email email@example.com;
- Offer some first-hand knowledge and/or experience of field work or conservation issues;
- Satisfy the minimum required English language criteria set by the University, being either a native English speaker, or able to offer test results as specified. Applicants with borderline scores may be accepted on condition that they attend a language course and gain an acceptable score;
- Demonstrate an ability to be able to commit the necessary time to study;
- Have good access to a computer and a fast/reliable internet connection;
- Demonstrate an ability to work alongside fellow students and tutors as part of an online community and independently.
Where requested, this should be supplied with your application. Applicants are advised to email firstname.lastname@example.org should they be unsure about the suitability of the referees they intend to use.
Please note that we do not request submission of written work.
Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course
Sources of funding
Information on financial support
also part of a wider programme of part-time accredited short courses available online.