BI2MBC-Marine Biology and Conservation

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Level:5
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Glyn Barrett

Email: glyn.barrett@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module will introduce students to the range of marine habitats, environments and associated biodiversity present within the biosphere. The module will provide an introduction to the major physical and chemical mechanisms underpinning oceanic processes. Lectures will cover key aspects of the biology, ecology and environmental physiology of marine organisms across several domains and major phyla of life. In addition, and with a focus on the ecological impacts of human activities, the module will explore threats to marine and coastal ecosystems and examine methods in monitoring and surveying techniques for the study, management and conservation of these ecosystems.


Aims:

This module will introduce students to the range of marine habitats, environments and associated biodiversity present within the biosphere. The module will provide an introduction to the major physical and chemical mechanisms underpinning oceanic processes. Lectures will cover key aspects of the biology, ecology and environmental physiology of marine organisms across several domains and major phyla of life. In addition, and with a focus on the ecological impacts of human activities, the module will explore threats to marine and coastal ecosystems and examine methods in monitoring and surveying techniques for the study, management and conservation of these ecosystems.


Assessable learning outcomes:

Students will obtain a deep understanding of general and applied marine sciences, develop theoretical and practical skills in species identification and habitat surveying and monitoring. By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:




  • Understand key biogeochemical, biophysical and ecological processes and ecosystem functioning in marine environments.

  • Describe and critically assess factors which determine the distribution of organisms in a range of marine habitats (e.g. pelagic, benthic, deep sea and polar zones).

  • Chronicle past, current and future ecological threats to the marine environment and propose working solutions to address real world conservation issues and problems.

  • Demonstrate skills in the critical evaluation of relevant literature from peer-reviewed journals and other sources of information.


Additional outcomes:

Students will enhance their abilities in critical thinking through the analysis and interpretation of the scientific literature. An extensive list of essential and recommended reading will be made available to students to increase understanding far beyond what can be provided in the lectures. Students will have the opportunity to work together as a group and develop research, communication, problem-solving and teamwork skills.



The module may help to prepare students for careers in marine conservation and other marine industries including environmental consultancy and ecological surveying.


Outline content:

The module will provide a broad and overall good grounding in marine biology and conservation. The teaching element will focus on the taxonomic and functional diversity of organisms which exist in various marine habitats (e.g. open ocean, coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves) and the roles that each plays in its individual ecosystem processes. Ecophysiological aspects, adaptation and fundamental biological processes of several key species will be discussed.



Specific lecture topics and extensive background reading will widen students’ understanding of key ecological and biogeochemical processes within marine systems and the connectivity of these with the functional roles of photosynthetic producers and heterotrophic consumers. In so doing, students will gain deep understanding of trophic interactions within marine food webs which will include investigation in symbiosis and parasitism.



Threats to the marine environment from industrial pollution, micro-plastics, climate change, invasive species, habitat destruction and over-exploitation will be explored and discussed extensively. Assessment and monitoring of marine resources and habitats with follow-on, real-world application of management strategies to counteract these threats will be examined.


Global context:

The lecture material will cover key oceanic and ecological principles and ecosystem processes across a range of marine environments and biomes on a global scale. Students will explore current conservation issues affecting parts of the world in local, regional and global contexts. 


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

There will be 20 ~50 minute lectures (divided by a short break) each week. Students will also spend time outside lectures preparing for their group assessment. Additionally, students will be expected to use their free time to engage in background reading.


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Guided independent study: 80
       
Total hours by term 100
       
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Report 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

A one and a half hour examination


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Group written report


Formative assessment methods:

Through direct interaction with the lecturers the students will be encouraged to test their knowledge of: (1.) marine ecology and biodiversity and (2.) marine conservation issues of concern and mitigation strategies.


Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall


    Reassessment arrangements:

    By re-examination in August


    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 8 April 2019

    THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MODULE DESCRIPTION DOES NOT FORM ANY PART OF A STUDENT'S CONTRACT.

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