Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Marine and Freshwater Field Course
Academic Year
Semester 1
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Group poster  A0 poster  20%
Semester Assessment Scientific paper based on group project  Max 3,000 words  40%
Semester Assessment Skills & knowledge test  Short answer / multiple choice  40%
Supplementary Assessment Scientific paper based on group project  Max 3,000 words  40%
Supplementary Assessment Skills & knowledge test  Short answer / multiple choice  40%
Supplementary Assessment Individual poster  A0 poster  20%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Safely and competently apply a range of tools/techniques used for the collection of biological and environmental field data from marine and freshwater environments.

2. Identify, to species level, a range of common marine and freshwater organisms.

3. Demonstrate the scientific method including hypotheses generation, experimental design, data acquisition, data presentation/analysis and communication of scientific outcomes with reference to the scientific literature.

4. Through field experience, demonstrate an improved knowledge of marine and freshwater biology.

Brief description

The field course(s) are residential and you will be hosted at a field station chosen to offer opportunities for the acquisition of practical skills and knowledge in the fields of marine or freshwater biology. The field courses are heavily weighted toward practical sessions, supplemented with a series of lectures and laboratory sessions for quantification and analysis of material. Throughout, you will be expected to discuss data collected from field sampling and laboratory analysis in the context of the specific hypotheses being tested as well as established ecological/biological theory (taught in BR22620 & BR22020) and current thinking within the wider scientific literature.


The module will involve an intensive residential field course(s) made up of briefing sessions and practical skills development. Practical sessions will introduce students to different sampling techniques and aquatic environments, and the fauna and flora characteristic of these environments. Students will therefore gain experience in the collection of both biological and environmental data along with taxonomic identification and dissection. Students will also undertake a group project aligned with their own research interests. Students will also gain experience in the analysis and presentation of scientific data via posters, presentations and scientific reports.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number The biological/environmental data collected will be analysed quantitatively using a variety of univariate and multivariate techniques.
Communication Students will be expected to listen effectively in the lectures, and practicals and will be expected to initiate/contribute to subsequent discussions. They will have the opportunity to work in small groups, which will require the oral exchange of ideas/data. The students will communicate their scientific outcomes via scientific reports, oral presentations and poster presentations as well as question and answer sessions.
Improving own Learning and Performance Through discussion of performance within groups, subsequent peer assessment and through oral and written feedback following submission of assessed work.
Information Technology Students will build competence and confidence with standard data handling/analysis and graphing tools as well as using the internet and other IT resources for further research.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will gain confidence in their ability to evaluate marine and freshwater 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 given where appropriate.
Problem solving Through all the coursework students will be challenged to identify and solve complex problems-assessed through semester assessments.
Research skills Students will be expected to produce academically appropriate assignments and comment, evaluate and scrutinize their own data in light of the scientific literature.
Subject Specific Skills Use of field equipment specific to marine and fresh water biology. Taxonomic skills with respect to marine and freshwater organisms. Appreciation of health and safety issues relevant to marine and freshwater fieldwork.
Team work Students will work in small groups. They will be expected to contribute to the planning and organisation of the practical exercises, delegation of tasks within the group, and the execution of techniques relevant to the data collection as well as cooperation of amongst group members during group assignment preparation. Student performance within a team will be assessed via their peers with marks awarded for the group element weighted by their contribution.


This module is at CQFW Level 6