This course explores the role of fire as a natural disturbance in ecosystems. It introduces the concept of a fire regime and its influence on the type and distribution of organisms that occur in fire prone ecosystems. It also looks at some of the adaptations of plants that have evolved in these ecosystems and how animals either avoid or exploit the consequences of fire as a natural disturbance. Finally it examines how fire can increase biodiversity by generating a mosaic of habitats within an ecosystem and briefly addresses some of the consequences of climate change and global warming on the intensity and frequency of fires.
How are volcanoes created? And how can scientists re-construct eruptions from many thousands of years ago? On a field trip to Iceland, Dr Dave McGarvie visits a range of volcanoes. These include Askja, a particularly spectacular and active volcano in Iceland’s remote interior, and the valley where astronauts once trained to land on the Moon. Dave is joined by scientists from Iceland, the USA and Open University PhD student Anne Forbes as they explore exciting lava formations that have never been reported before.
Most people throw coal on the fire and put petrol in their cars without really thinking about it. But, looking at sediment deposits can reveal what type of environments created our coal and oil hundreds of millions of years ago. The five video tracks in this album examine the role of geology in determining the global distribution and availability of these valuable resources. They look at the formation of coal and how to mine it safely, the extraction of crude oil from the Athabasca oil sands and Colorado oil shale, and how we discovered reservoirs of oil in Jurassic rocks under the North Sea. This material forms part of S278, Earth's physical resources: origin, use and environmental impact.