Module Information

Module Identifier
BR22620
Module Title
Marine Biology
Academic Year
2015/2016
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 1
External Examiners
  • Dr Martin Genner (Senior Lecturer - University of Bristol)
 
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 44 x 1 Hour Lectures
Field Trip 1 x 4 Hour Field Trip
Field Trip 1 x 8 Hour Field Trip
Practical 2 x 4 Hour Practicals
 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Laboratory report.  10%
Semester Assessment Field report 1.  20%
Semester Assessment Field report 2.  10%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Short answer and essay question paper.  60%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  40%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  60%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1) demonstrate their knowledge of the fundamental physical oceanographic processes which fashion the major oceans and seas.

2) evaluate the influence of biotic and abiotic factors which determine the nature and distribution of marine assemblages.

3) demonstrate their ability to use and create dichotomous keys in order to identify marine flora and fauna.

4) conduct and report surveys in the intertidal employing standard techniques used by marine biologists.

Brief description

The aim of this module is, through a series of integrated lectures and practicals, to introduce students to the subject of Marine Biology. The module will cover a variety of different topics, however the emphasis will be on oceanography, major marine ecosystems (i.e. pelagic, rocky shore, sandy shore, estuaries, deep sea, coral reef, polar habitats etc), primary and secondary production.

Content

The module begins with a classification of the marine environment and an introduction to the major characteristics of the habitats to be studied. The main ocean current systems are described and discussed in relation to their importance in physical and biological oceanography. The chemistry and composition of sea water is introduced with emphasis on sea water as a "biological environment" including information on salinity, nutrient profiles, nitrate and phosphate cycles, nutrient regeneration etc. Lectures on tides and tidal theory stress the importance of the spring-neap tidal cycle and variability in the cycle. The nature of waves is considered from the standpoint of their impact on the shore environment.

The lectures on intertidal ecology begin with introducing the rocky shore. The key physical (e.g. tides, exposure) and biological (e.g. competition, predation, herbivory) processes that structure rocky shores are explored and their influence on the universal nature of shore zonation and the horizontal wave exposure gradient is considered.

The importance of the physical characteristics of sediments is stressed in lectures on sedimentary shores, leading to a consideration of the classical concepts of bottom fauna community ecology. The estuarine environment is considered in detail - physical factors, communities of sand and mud flats, productivity, estuarine food webs. Studies on intertidal ecology conclude with a consideration of the life-cycles of selected species with emphasis on substrate selection and behaviour at settlement.

An introduction to deep-sea biology is given through consideration of the conditions that prevail in the deep and the adaptations shown by the fauna. This will include discussion on hydrothermal vents, seeps and oxygen minimum zones; origin of deep-sea fauna, biodiversity and the exploitation of resources. Coral reef ecosystems will be investigated by considering their formation, structure, zonation, symbiosis etc. Polar habitats are also discussed with particular emphasis on food webs.

Primary production and seasonal cycles of primary production in the oceans in relation to nutrients and physical controls are considered. Grazing and the interrelationships between zooplankton and phytoplankton are investigated. The behaviour of zooplankton is discussed.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Collection and scrutiny of data in terms of quality and quantity. They will be expected to analyse their laboratory data and interpret their results for the delivery of assessed work.
Communication Students will be expected to listen effectively in the lectures, practicals/fieldtips and initiate/contribute to subsequent discussions. They will have the opportunity to work in small groups during the practical classes/fieldtrips which will require the oral exchange of ideas/data. The students will be expected to produce coherent written documentation for their examinations and field trip/practical reports.
Improving own Learning and Performance Outside the formal contact hours, students will be expected to research materials, manage time and meet deadlines. The practical classes/field trip will provide an opportunity for students to explore their own learning styles and preferences, and identify their needs and barriers to learning. Students will be able to review and monitor their progress and plan for improvement of personal performance through self-awareness and reflection.
Information Technology The students will be required to access online databases such as ISI Web of Knowledge and Google Scholar to find primary literature. They will also be expected to be competent in the use of word processing programs and spreadsheets for the delivery of assessed work.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will gain confidence in their ability to evaluate marine biological problems through an awareness of their personal skills and objectively assess the quality of proposed solutions. They will also gain experience in techniques used by research scientists, consultancy organizations, NGOs etc. Feedback will be provided where appropriate.
Problem solving Through the lectures and practicals/fieldtrips students will be encouraged to critically analyse information gathered/provided and identify appropriate solutions where problems arise. They will also be expected to critically evaluate these solutions in a biological concept. Feedback will be provided where appropriate.
Research skills Students will research topics beyond the depth and scope of the lecture material using independent study, and during the write up of the practical reports. They will be expected to produce academically appropriate reports, and where necessary comment, evaluate and scrutinize the information obtained/experiment conducted. Practical classes will utilise marine biological research skills at an early stage of their academic careers.
Subject Specific Skills Subject specific concepts relating to marine biology will be developed.
Team work Students will work effectively in pairs/small groups during field trips/practical classes. They will be expected to contribute to the planning and organisation of the practical exercises, delegation of tasks through persuasion and negotiation, and the execution of techniques relevant to the practicals/fieldtrips with the cooperation of group members.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 5