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 Sampling the Ocean
Code ENVS220
Coordinator Professor J Sharples
Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 5 FHEQ Second Semester 15


To provide students with

An understanding of the practical methods used to measure and analyse physical and biogeochemical quantities in the ocean, in both the context of ocean research and in the commercial world.

This includes:
Techniques for navigation and survey planning;
Measurement of temperature, salinity, chlorophyll and dissolved oxygen using the "CTD";
Measurement of currents;
Laboratory analyses for chlorophyll, oxygen and nutrients;
Microscope analyses for plankton identification;
Techniques for instrument calibration.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will acquire understanding of navigation and survey design; measurements of temperature, salinity and density; measurements of currents; analyses for chlorophyll, nutrients and dissolved oxygen.

(LO2) Students will acquire skills in data quality/analysis techniques including manipulation of CTD and current data; calculation of water column properties from discrete sampling; calibration of instrumentation using discrete samples.

(LO3) Students will be able to present data graphically to a high standard, appreciating the need for legibility, labelling, legends and figure captions.

(LO4) At the end of the module a student should be able to evaluate the quality and significance of oceanographic data, and understand how data is used in both commercial and research environments.

(LO5) Students will acquire appreciation of safe working practices in the field, and also in the laboratory.

(S1) Problem solving skills

(S2) Numeracy

(S3) Communication skills

(S4) IT skills



One workshop/lecture per week in weeks 1 - 10 (not including field week). Workshops/lectures are supported with online material (e.g. short videos; supporting papers). These workshops cover topics such as: navigation, measurement of temperature, salinity and currents, sampling and analyses for nutrients, oxygen and chlorophyll, microscopy for phytoplankton, sampling sediments and geochemistry.

Practical sampling and laboratory analyses during the semester 2 field week.

Timing in semester 2 is subject to change, depending on when the semester 2 field week occurs.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 – Lecture/workshop
Description: 1 lecture/workshop per week, weeks 1-10 .
Online videos and papers will provide key material, including information on practical equipment/instrumentation that will be used in ENVS349. Workshops provide more active experience in relevant calculations and desk-based practical skills (e.g. interpreting information on navigational charts, calculations based on data from instruments) and also develop a "recipe" for illustrating data in papers and reports.

Teaching Method 2 - Field and lab work
Description: Sampling seawater and laboratory analysis. CTL lab required for 3 consecutive days during field week.
This work involves active sampling of local waters (depending on any covid-related restrictions) to acquire practical understanding and skill in sample collection and sample preservation. The subsequent laboratory work develops the hands-on experience of sample analyses using standard methods for both research and commercial oceanography. A critical approach to the assessment of data quality will be developed.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 10




Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 103


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Report on field week work There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment. Assessment Schedule: End of field week, semester 2.  Report, approx. 3 -     50       
Data analysis of research expedition data. There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment. Assessment Schedule (When) :Semester   Report, approx. 3 -     50       

Recommended Texts

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