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 ENVS121
Coordinator Dr RM Jeffreys
Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 4 FHEQ First Semester 15


This module will introduce students to the main groups of organisms found in the marine environment. Students will develop knowledge of the taxonomic diversity of marine life, and from lectures, workshops and practicals will develop the skills to be able to recognise the major groups from their key identifying features. Students will develop knowledge of the function and form of marine organisms and the adaptational solutions organisms adopt to become successful in the marine environment.

Students will encounter a variety of marine organisms in subsequent modules and field studies and gaining a familiarity with them in this module will enable them to recognise them and understand their role in marine ecosystems.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Acquire knowledge and understanding on the taxonomic and functional diversity of marine life.

(LO2) Develop the ability to recognise the major groups of marine organisms using their key features

(LO3) Experience how to examine marine organisms and understand their functional biology using different kinds of specimens and approaches.

(LO4) Recognise the adaptational solutions to functional problems adopted by marine organisms

(LO5) Teamwork

(LO6) Information literacy online, finding, interpreting, evaluating, managing and sharing information

(LO7) Problem solving skills



Students will be introduced to the major groups of marine organisms including: bacteria, viruses, marine primary producers (seaweeds and phytoplankton), marine invertebrates (e.g. sponges, cnidaria, crustacea, molluscs, echinoderms and sea squirts), and marine vertebrates (fishes, reptiles, mammals and birds) through a series of E-Lectures. These lectures are not time-tabled and must be watched in the student's own time as part of their self-directed learning.

Key learning resources including recommended reading available electronically and via the library will be available on the VLE (virtual learning environment) under reading lists. A blended learning approach will be used to direct students to essential resources through the VLE, E-lectures, workshops and practicals.

Students are expected to have watched the E-lectures related to the workshops and practical activity. There will be some preparation required for activities in each workshop, which students will be advised of in advance through the VLE. Workshop sessions will last for 45 minutes during this time students are encouraged to ask any questions that they have related to the content delivered in the E-lectures, workshops or practicals.

Students are encouraged where they can to complete the practical activities, which will take place on campus in the central teaching laboratories, and at the Liverpool World Museum. Practical activities will give students experience in working with and observing real organisms and specimens and use of microscopes. Practical activities will include: identification, dissection, anatomical drawings and exploration of form and function. Practical sessions will be preceded by an introductory E-lecture delivered via the VLE.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 - E-Lectures
Description: Lectures delivered online (asynchronously) via the VLE focusing on major marine phyla. This forms part of the student's self-directed learning and streamed content will not be in excess of 30 hours. There will also be E-lectures that must be watched prior to the practical sessions outlining what will be covered in the practical.
Attendance Recorded: No

Teaching Method 2 - Workshops (Online Classroom)
Description: Workshops delivered synchronously with activities focusing on lecture material delivered via VLE.
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Method 3: Online Quizzes
Description: Short online quizzes will be used during the course e.g. in workshops to consolidate learning and as practise for the summative online quizzes.

Teaching Method 4: Demonstration
Description: Short 1 hour video demonstration on use of microscopes to be viewed before practicals in Central Teaching Laboratories (CTL).

Teaching Method 5 - Scheduled Practicals
Description: Synchronous practical activities in the CTL and field visits to the Liverpool World Museum
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Students will participate in active learning through workshops and practical sessions.

Learning Method 1 - Self-directed learning
Reading, and synthesis of taught material (via VLE or in person)

Learning Method 2 - Group Project
This assessed piece of work will give students the opportunity to work together and consolidate their learning as a team. Students will enhance their digital fluency through this project.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours           34





Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 50


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Online timed test - MCQ and SAQ (all content covered in course) There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment. Assessment Sched      35       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
An individual coursework assessment. Practical workbook submitted on day of activity. Worth 35% of the module, submission due in week 5 depending on timetable.      35       
Group Project - BBC Bitesize Produce a BBC bitesize page for KS4 studnets (Y11) on one of the main taxonomic groups (Phyla) of marine organisms. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission.       30       
Periodic online MCQ formative test throughout the course           

Recommended Texts

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