An investigation looking at energy flow and the efficiency of energy transfer within an ecosystem, either in freshwater or on the rocky shore, depending on the centre.

Students will use field sampling methods to determine the distribution and abundance of organisms and collect numerical data enabling them to quantify the efficiency of transfer of biomass and energy between trophic levels. Data will also be analysed using a chi-squared test.  

Example Timetable

The following is an example of how this day course might look. This course usually runs from 9.30am – 4pm, but times can be adjusted to suit your group and travel plans.


  • Arrival, welcome to the centre and an appropriate health and safety briefing.
  • Classroom session - introduction to the day, aims and objectives
  • Fieldwork – collection of abiotic and biotic data at habitat 1.
  • Classroom session – calculations of efficiency of biomass and energy transfer between trophic levels of habitat 1


  • Fieldwork – collection of abiotic and biotic data at habitat 2
  • Classroom session – Chi-squared calculation (and efficiency calculations for habitat 2)

We will end the day with a summary including drawing conclusions and identifying limitations.

Please note specific timings and activities are subject to change. We go out in all weathers and seasons and will tailor the content of the day accordingly.

How this course fulfills the specification

  • AQA: 5.3 Energy and Ecosystems
  • OCR A: 6.3.1 Ecosystems, 6.3.2 Populations and sustainability
  • Edexcel A: Topic 5 On the Wild Side
  • Edexcel B: Topic 10 Ecosystems
  • Eduqas: Component 1 (Energy for Life) 5. Population size and ecosystems

Practical Endorsement

Practical Skills: Independent thinking; use and application of scientific methods and practices; research and referencing (Post course). Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC) (2) (3) (4) (5 – pre/post course)

Practical Skills, Apparatus and Techniques

The ‘hands on’ nature of our courses provide multiple opportunities for students to apply the practical skills on which they will be assessed and develop and demonstrate their use of apparatus and techniques including ATa, ATe (if requested), and ATk.

These skills will be integrated and contextualised within the topic and ecological investigation undertaken.

Maths and Statistical Skills

This course includes a range of applied maths and graphical skills and can cover the chi-squared statistical test. You can also use the data collected to calculate an index of diversity (usually post-course, depending on timing).

Added value of this course

  • Develop personal skills
  • Have fun
  • Be inspired by a passion for the subject
  • Build friendships

Why Choose Field Studies Council?

  • Expert tuition by fully trained staff

  • Stunning locations across the UK

  • Outstanding curriculum knowledge

  • Rigorous health and safety procedures

  • Support before and after your visit

  • Free places for visiting staff