A full day session investigating the process of ecological succession in a dynamic landscape.

Students will use sampling methods to determine the distribution and abundance of organisms in relation to environmental change. Concepts of primary and secondary succession, colonisation by pioneer species and progression to climax communities will be covered. Students will collect data on a range of abiotic and biotic factors and the data analysed using an appropriate statistical test (time dependent). 

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 to investigate succession.  The method(s) used will depend on the locations available at the centre.
  • Classroom session – analysis of data (carrying out relevant statistical tests depending on the method used).   We will end the investigation with a summary including drawing conclusions and identifying limitations.

Please note specific activities are subject to change. We go out in all weathers and seasons and will tailor the content of the day accordingly. There will be some variation between what is offered at specific centres due to habitat availability.

How this course fulfills the specification

  • AQA: 7.4 Populations in 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: Ecological elements from Component 1 (Energy for Life) and Component 2 (Continuity of Life)

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)
  • AQA:  Required Practical 12
  • OCR A and B: PAG3.2
  • Edexcel A: Core Practical 10 (using data collected as a group, no planning component)
  • Edexcel B: Core Practical 16 (data collected as a group can be used post-course, no planning component)
  • Eduqas specified practicals: Investigation into the abundance and distribution of plants in a habitat (1.5), and investigation into biodiversity in a habitat (2.1) (calculations to be completed post-course, time dependent)

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 Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient or Student’s t-test.

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