Current Issues in Marine Biology

Module titleCurrent Issues in Marine Biology
Module codeBIO3083
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr Ceri Lewis (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

With the ever-growing human population, the marine environment is increasingly under threat from a range of anthropogenic and natural disturbances. Some major threats include habitat loss due to coastal development, noise and chemical pollution, and increased carbon dioxide levels, resulting in ocean acidification and global warming. This module will build on the fundamental principles taught in the second year Marine Biology module and focuses on the current research issues in the field of Marine Biology. We will discuss these threats and their effects on marine wildlife, as well as methods that are currently used to study the effects with the aim of managing and protecting the biodiversity in our oceans.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to develop an awareness of current issues in marine biology. You will develop skills in sourcing and interpreting scientific literature, analysing experimental results and communicating facets of marine science.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Outline and critically analyse the current threats facing the marine environment
  • 2. Describe in detail and analyse the functioning of marine environments including Arctic ecosystems and coral reefs (and associated habitats: sea grass beds and mangroves), and how ecosystem processes vary in different habitats
  • 3. Critically evaluate how natural and anthropogenic disturbances affect the health of marine ecosystems and how these may be ameliorated by management
  • 4. Illustrate and critically evaluate the use of population genetics tools in studying connectivity and fisheries management

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Evaluate in detail approaches to our understanding of organismal biology and ecology (with some molecular and chemical components) with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles
  • 6. Analyse in detail essential facts and theory in a subdiscipline of the biosciences
  • 7. Analyse and evaluate independently a range of research-informed literature and synthesise research-informed examples from the literature into written work
  • 8. With limited guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis and enquiry within the biosciences

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. Communicate effectively arguments, evidence and conclusions using written and oral means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience
  • 10. Devise and sustain, with little guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with sound, convincing conclusions
  • 11. Analyse and evaluate appropriate data with very limited guidance

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Lectures will cover:

  • larval ecology and reproduction;
  • ocean acidification;
  • threats to the Arctic ecosystems;
  • use of population genetics in studying connectivity and fisheries management;
  • pollution;
  • biology of reefs and their management;
  • reef, seagrass and mangrove interactions;
  • threats to reefs;
  • marine protected areas;
  • invasive species;
  • data handling practice;
  • data handling assessment

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching14Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching8Data handling and journal clubs
Guided Independent Study128Reading and preparation for lectures


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Online discussion forum1 hour per weekAllWritten online

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay examination602 hours1-7, 9-11Written on request
Test to include data handling4090 minutes1-6, 8, 9, 11Written and model answers


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay examinationEssay examination1-7, 9-11August Ref/Def
Test to include data handlingEssay examination1-7, 9-11August Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit a further examination. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • M.J. Kaiser, M.J. Attrill, S. Jennings, D.N. Thomas and D.K.A. Barnes (2011). Marine Ecology - Processes, Systems, and Impacts (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Marine, environment, aquatic, global warming, ocean acidification, over-fishing, coral reefs, threats, fisheries, marine protected areas, pollution, connectivity, arctic, connectivity, invasive species

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BIO2074 Marine Biology

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date