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Sustainable Livestock and Fisheries

Module titleSustainable Livestock and Fisheries
Module codeBIOM566
Academic year2018/9
Module staff

Dr Mark Van Der Giezen (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module will allow you to build a comprehensive and holistic understanding of the pressures and opportunities in the field of livestock farming and fisheries.

Animal protein has featured in the human diet since the dawn of history. Archaeological finds have clearly shown the human appetite for meat, which came originally from hunting or scavenging rather than from farming. Once the hunter-gatherers had settled and started farming, livestock farming and fishing became a more sustainable form of securing animal protein.

However, recently there has been criticism of livestock taking up valuable land that could be used for crops and, as animals eat plants, criticism of the costly nature of producing animal protein. The growing population of our planet puts demands on available land with consequences for animal farming. In addition, the amount of waste produced by that same growing population impacts the land and the sea. This mainly affects waters with implications for fisheries. As the seas remain largely underused and aquaculture and fisheries have huge potential, perhaps future animal protein will come from fish rather than land animals. Climate change also affects how people can utilise the land and the sea; huge challenges, but also opportunities, will arise within the foreseeable future.

This module brings together experts who present the complex nature of farming in the 21st century. You will explore questions such as: How does the climate affect the land and sea and how will this change in the future? What are the consequences for humanity, including those who make a livelihood out of livestock and fisheries? What are the current issues and opportunities in livestock farming and fisheries? Does the changing climate pose risks other than just changes in temperature and precipitation? Might it also introduce new pathogens that will affect farming practices?

Experts from within the University of Exeter, together with expert guest speakers from other Universities, will present to you the latest trends relating to livestock farming and fisheries. In addition, experts from governmental research institutes and the private sector will show and discuss with you their side of this complex story.

The emphasis lies strongly on interaction with speakers, both from academic as well as commercial background, in order to strengthen your communication and professional interaction skills. Assessments focus on group work, important for later employment, and professional interactions with commercial farmers.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to advance your knowledge of the challenges and opportunities that face humanity with respect to securing animal protein production in a world with a growing population and changing climate. In addition to hearing the latest developments in the fields of livestock and fisheries from a biological perspective, you will also gain a strong understanding of societal, environmental and commercial factors that affect animal farming and fisheries.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Evaluate critically major factors influencing livestock farming and fisheries
  • 2. Identify and analyse the challenges affecting livestock farming and fisheries including disease
  • 3. Describe critically and in detail the interplay between climate and farming in relation to animal protein production
  • 4. Interpret independently factors affecting sustainability in livestock farming and fisheries

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 5. Evaluate in detail and critique approaches to our understanding of livestock farming and fisheries
  • 6. Analyse and evaluate critically essential facts and theories in livestock farming and fisheries
  • 7. Evaluate critically aspects of current research in livestock farming and fisheries with reference to primary literature and review articles

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 8. Communicate ideas effectively and professionally by written and oral means
  • 9. Study autonomously and summarise research results with minimal guidance
  • 10. Select and effectively manage information drawn from books, scientific journals and the internet
  • 11. Interact professionally in small group settings and present group ideas in public
  • 12. Critically assess scientific information

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The contents of the module will be selected from the following subject areas:

  • Introduction to climate change, with particular emphasis on animal farming and fisheries
  • Current practices and challenges for livestock farming including intensification thereof
  • Challenges to wild-caught fish and aquaculture including disease
  • Animal disease and global change
  • Disease movement linked to climate change.

For the literature review, you will summarise in a succinct but thorough style a current topic in livestock farming and fisheries.

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 Teaching20Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching12Field trips (site visits to local farm)
Guided Independent Study25Preparation for literature review
Guided Independent Study25Preparation for white paper
Guided Independent Study20Preparation for presentation
Guided Independent Study48Guided reading of literature, literature research and revision


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Active debate with external speakersOngoing throughout moduleAllOral
Small group discussions following farm visits1 hourAllOral

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
Literature review501500 words1-10, 12Written
Group presentation1015 minutesAllWritten
White paper401000 wordsAllWritten


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Literature reviewLiterature review1-10, 12Variable
Group presentationGroup presentationAllVariable
White paperLiterature review1-10, 12Variable

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 short answer and multiple choice test is not deferrable because it is taken in class during the module. 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 referred in assessments as described in the table above. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 50%.


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Livestock farming, fisheries, aquaculture, climate change, disease

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date