Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Practical Practicals and Field Days (7 days)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Field Course Report  70%
Semester Exam Practical exam  30%
Supplementary Assessment Extended essay  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the module students will be able to:

  • identify the common organisms of estuaries and coastal waters
  • apply basic methods of collection for intertidal and sublittoral organisms
  • explain the factors which affect the distribution of intertidal and sublittoral flora and fauna
  • use advanced identification keys
  • design and undertake sampling programmes appropriate to a range of coastal habitats
  • prepare illustrated, concise reports.


This module builds on Module BS21110 - Marine Biology and gives the student the opportunity of working in a range of coastal habitats. It is an introduction to the taxonomy of the major groups of marine organisms, and field sampling techniques and laboratory analysis used in coastal ecology with the aim of understanding the distribution patterns of marine intertidal and sublittoral organisms.


The course is based in Millport Field Station, Isle of Cumbrae, Scotland with excursions to coastal habitats and includes lectures and practical classes with follow up laboratory sessions for analysis of material. Throughout, the student is expected to discuss the data collected from field sampling and laboratory analysis in the light of theories raised and knowledge acquired in Module BS21110.
The distribution and diversity of organisms on rocky shores is investigated through quantitative sampling along transect lines. Distribution patterns on different shores are considered in the light of the prevailing physical and biological conditions.
A similar approach is used in the study of sedimentary shores and estuaries. Distribution, density and biomass of organisms are monitored by field and laboratory studies and the student is introduced to the standard methods of sediment and water analysis.
The preliminary studies on plankton completed in Module BS21110 are extended during this course with the emphasis on the study of living plankton. The abundance of meroplankton is investigated and the significance of a pelagic phase in the life-cycle of benthic invertebrates is reviewed.
Inshore fisheries and their management are discussed in lectures and demonstrations, with boatwork including sampling of soft and hard bottom communities. Students work in groups for field and follow-up laboratory work.

Reading List

Should Be Purchased
Fish, J D & Fish, S (1996) A student's guide to the seashore 2nd Cambridge University Press. Primo search Hayward, Peter J. (March 1995) Handbook of the Marine Fauna of North-West Europe Oxford University Press, Incorporated Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6