Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code ENVS241
Coordinator Dr L Robinson
Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2019-20 Level 5 FHEQ First Semester 15


This module aims to increase students' knowledge of how to sample and identify a broad range of taxonomic groups common to inshore and coastal marine ecosystems. It will build knowledge and confidence in the ability to go on and undertake field-based marine research and give students the experience of boat-based sampling required to enhance their prospects of gaining employment in the marine sectors. Field-based studies allow students to develop and enhance many of the generic skills (for example, team working, problem solving, and interpersonal relationships) which are of value to the world of work and active citizenship. This module will therefore widen access to a range of professions that require these core skills, increasing the overall employability of our students. Finally, students will learn how to communicate their findings through a range of techniques commonly used in workplaces (e.g. oral presentations and handouts, accessible information guides) to compl ement other writing and communication techniques (e.g. papers, essays) emphasized elsewhere in the relevant programmes.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will learn how to sample and identify a broad range of coastal and inshore marine taxa

(LO2) Students will enhance their ability to communicate through a range of formats to audiences with different levels of prior knowledge

(LO3) Students will develop a better understanding of how the biodiversity of marine species is adapted to different habitats and environmental conditions

(LO4) Students will become confident at working on a marine research vessel through repeat trips utilising a range of sampling techniques

(S1) Adaptability

(S2) Teamwork

(S3) Communication skills

(S4) Lifelong learning skills

(S5) Organisational skills

(S6) Problem solving skills

(S7) Leadership



1 . MBA residential field course (September, start of Year 2) (60%)

A 6 day residential field course where students will each undertake:

boat-based sampling and exploration exercises;
laboratory work based on samples taken at sea;
rapid biodiversity assessment exercise.

Students will be split into groups and will swap between exercises throughout the week. In smaller groups, students will also research a particular taxonomic group common to inshore and coastal marine ecosystems (e.g. crabs and shrimps, demersal fish, starfish and sea urchins), and will produce a short handout that summarises suitable sampling techniques and key identifying features for common species that they will then present to the rest of the class on the final day. Students will undertake a spot test to assess how well they can identify the common fauna and flora encountered during the field course. A detailed timetable will be given to the students at the beginning of the field co urse.

2. UK marine species guide (Autumn term, Year 2) (40%)

Students will research and produce an accessible and informative guide on one UK marine species each (coastal/inshore species only). The guide must cover one page each on:

Phylogeny and classification;
Key ID features/morphology;
Key functions (e.g. feeding types/diet preferences, living habits, reproductive type/dispersal);
UK distribution information and change in this over last 100 years (where possible).

The guide will be four pages long including pictures/figures and emphasis will also be placed on presentation of the material such that it is eye-catching and accessible to a wide audience

Several staff-led sessions will be provided to help with how to research and then format and present the guide. Details of the timetabling will be given at the beginning of the semester.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 - Field Work
Description: Boat-based and coastal field work
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Method 2 - Laboratory Work
Description: Laboratory practicals based on field exercises undertaken
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Method 3 - Group Project
Description: Hand-out on marine taxa
Attendance Recorded: No

Teaching Method 4 - Seminar
Description: Workshops to support development on marine species guide
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours   6




Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 90


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Group project hand-out  3-6 A4 pages depende    30       
Spot test  90 minutes    30       
Marine species guide  4 pages    40       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.