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Marine Biodiversity and Conservation

Module titleMarine Biodiversity and Conservation
Module codeBIOM4013
Academic year2018/9
Module staff

Dr Victoria Hobson (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Through lectures, discussion groups and field visits, this module seeks to cover the breadth of the issues involved in marine biodiversity and conservation. There is an emphasis on directed self-learning on key topics and through active engagement with incoming professionals, a practical emphasis obtained. The module is suitable for specialist and non-specialist students alike.

You cannot take BIOM4012 Terrestrial Biodiversity and Conservation if you are taking this module. Please note that there are parts of this module which will be conducted in the field and in sometimes remote locations. You may wish to consider the physical demands of these aspects of the module before embarking on it.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module deals with the key Biodiversity issues and will contribute to a synthetic understanding of the scientific processes which underpin much of conservation and ecology. The module particularly focuses on global biodiversity, measuring biodiversity, threats to biodiversity and how biodiversity can preserved.

This module will ensure that regardless of academic background (e.g. geography or biology) you will have the appropriate understanding of the principles guiding conservation, and material covered in other Masters level modules, including the research project. However, the module will be delivered in such a way as to ensure that, even if you already have some background in the topics above, you will be provided with new ways of looking at the same material. Learning will be facilitated by field visits, discussion groups, seminars and allocated reading.

Researchers and the general public are increasingly aware of the serious decline in biodiversity that is now occurring and that this may have unforeseen consequences. However, conservation workers and students of behaviour are frequently unaware of the general underpinnings of their disciplines nor of the general principles and information that can be found elsewhere. This module aims to school you in these general principles. For example, you will be given an overview of the latest research informing marine vertebrate conservation, and will critically consider how these can be applied in real-world contexts.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Illustrate fully and systematically key concepts in biodiversity
  • 2. Critically and independently assess literature related to a conservation issue in the marine realm and write a critical analysis

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Discuss ideas and construct coherent arguments based on your independent and critical assessment of the discipline
  • 4. Solve practical problems in biology
  • 5. Critically assess scientific literature

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 6. Professionally present new ideas and results
  • 7. Present written reports in a clear, concise, and logical manner
  • 8. Think critically, and critically appraise and logically solve problems

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Week 1: Global Biodiversity. This will include an overview of where biodiversity is found and why it matters, extinction, and impacts and loss of biodiversity. Additional reading for discussion will be highlighted.

Week 2: Marine Vertebrate Conservation. This will involve interaction with UK conservation professionals through field visits and seminars.

Week 3: UK Marine Conservation. This will involve interaction with UK conservation professionals and at least one field visit.

Week 4: Global Conservation 1. Through student-led seminars and associated discussion the following topics will be covered in relation to their threats to biodiversity and the consequences for conservation programmes: Habitat loss and fragmentation, Climate change, Invasive species, Over-exploitation, Pollution.

Week 5: Global Conservation 2. Through student lead seminars and associated discussion the following topics will be covered: Ecotourism, Fisheries Conservation, Marine Protected Areas, International Legislation.

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 Teaching15Minisymposia including topics such as ecotourism, climate change, fisheries, pollution and marine protected areas
Scheduled Learning and Teaching8Field trip to National Lobster Hatchery, National Marine Aquarium
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6Case studies – seminars given by guest speakers from a variety of organisations
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6Discussion groups based on assigned readings covering topics such as fisheries, marine conservation, impacts on biodiversity, marine protected areas and marine biodiversity
Guided independent study115Additional reading, research and preparation for the module assessments


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short answer questions during lectures, seminars and field tripOngoing throughout the moduleAllOral

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
Critical synthetic report-literature review in the format of a Trends in Ecology and Conservation (TREE) journal article502000 words AllWritten
Oral presentation5012 minutesAllWritten


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Critical synthetic report Critical synthetic report AllDuring an appropriate specified time period before the end of July
Oral presentation Oral presentation AllDuring an appropriate specified time period before the end of July

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 50%) you will be required to submit a further critical synthetic report. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the module mark and will be capped at 50%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • K.J. Gaston and J.I. Spicer, Biodiversity: An Introduction, Blackwells, 2004.
  • R. Frankham, J.D. Ballou and D.A. Briscoe, Introduction to Conservation Genetics, Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Global biodiversity, extinction, marine mammal survey, conservation, habitat loss, fragmentation, climate change, invasive species, over-exploitation, pollution, ecotourism, fisheries, marine protected areas, international legislation

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date