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.
Title Marine Biology Field Sampling Skills
Code ENVS317
Coordinator Dr JS Thomson
Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 6 FHEQ Whole Session 15


This module aims to develop the students’ practical experience of field and sampling skills; field skills form a foundational framework for ecology and marine biology and will therefore provide students with important experiences for careers in this sector. Students will continue to develop their understanding of the variety of UK biota through practical and group work.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will gain further hands-on/practical experience of a variety of sampling procedures from a variety of marine/intertidal habitats

(LO2) Students will improve their ability to identify benthic and coastal UK organisms

(LO3) Students will develop their understanding of UK marine diversity and its relationship with habitat type

(S1) Adaptability

(S2) Teamwork

(S3) Organisational Skills

(S4) Problem Solving Skills

(S5) Communication Skills



Students take part in a one-week field class in September prior to the start of Year Three. Students will work in groups (bubbles, c. 8-10 students) with each group taking part in each of three activities:
1) Rocky-shore sampling
2) Soft-sediment sampling
3) Boat-based sampling

With this experience they will design and run a short field activity to answer a scientific question.

Groups will engage in field sampling, improving their understanding of the processes and analyses of findings. Understanding of field sampling methodology will be assessed through a report on a a practical exercise (assessment 1) and a short reflective essay (assessment 3), whilst ability to identify organisms and appreciate diversity will be assessed through annotated diagrams (assessment 2)

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Through field-based activities, students will explore methods of sampling the marine and coastal environment, including work at sea. Samples collected in the field will be further investigated with subsequent laboratory analysis, including sorting and identification, and recording their findings through annotated diagrams. Students will reflect on each activity through seminars, and will subsequently be assessed on their ability to conduct a field exercise.

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 - Seminar
Description: Workshops to support the field and laboratory exercises
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours   8



Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 100


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Field Treasure Hunt: Annotated diagrams of key organisms (and identifying features) obtained.  Three diagrams    40       
A short written report based on the practical exercise  2-3 pages font size     40       
Short reflective exercise on field challenge  400-600 words    20       

Recommended Texts

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