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Modules

Modules

MST2103 : Marine Processes and Cycles

Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 30
ECTS Credits: 15.0

Aims

This module aims to introduce you to the fundamental processes which control the distribution of marine life in the world's oceans on global and regional scales.

This course will introduce you to the fundamental concepts and processes that govern the relationships between marine primary producers and the physical (e.g. light) and chemical (e.g. nutrients) environment and in which they operate. Lectures will cover the main factors limiting phytoplankton growth, adaptations to the marine environment, and global /regional distribution patterns as determined by oceanographic processes. The fate of organic material from primary production will be traced through planktonic food webs (zooplankton feeding, microbial degradation) from the surface ocean to deep sea sediments.

Further, the course will introduce you to the main concepts used to describe the interactions between planktonic ecosystems, oceanography, and the cycling of carbon and nutrient elements on a global scale, both in the surface ocean and the deep blue sea. You will develop a detailed understanding of some key biogeochemical processes in estuaries and coastal seas and where appropriate how these are influenced by aspects of coastal physical oceanography and anthropogenic activities. Case studies in regional oceanography (e.g. North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Estuaries) will illustrated the importance of a whole ecosystem approach which considers interactions between biological, chemical and physical processes.

Emphasis will be placed on the conceptual understanding of key processes and their semi-quantitative description. The goal of this approach is to provide the fundamental concepts required for more detailed and quantitative treatment in more advanced modules at Stage 3.

At the end of the course you will be aware of anthropogenic impacts and climate change on marine food webs on global to regional scales. You will have gained knowledge and understanding of oceanographic key processes and important state-of-the-art techniques applied in oceanographic field and laboratory studies.

Outline Of Syllabus

36 x 1 hour lectures based on the following topics:

1. Introduction and Module Overview
2. Primary Producers I
3. Primary Producers II
4. Light Dependence of Primary Production I
5. Light Dependence of Primary Production II
6. Bio-optical Models
7. Nutrient Depletion
8. Nutrient Uptake
9. Carbon Dioxide and the Global Marine System
10. Drawdown of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide I
11. Drawdown of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide II
12. Coupling of the Marine C and N Cycles I
13. Coupling of the Marine C and N Cycles II
14. Organic Matter Export to the Deep Sea I
15. Organic Matter Export to the Deep Sea II
16. Fate of Organic Matter in the Deep Sea
17. Benthic Communities and the Sedimentary Carbon Sink
18. Oceanographic Provinces
19. The Coastal Environment
20. Coastal Hydrodynamics
21. Sources and Distributions of Coastal Sediment
22. Estuarine Mixing
23. Carbon in the Coastal Ocean I
24. Carbon in the Coastal Ocean II
25. Carbon in the Coastal Ocean III
26. Regional Case Studies: North Sea I
27. Regional Case Studies: North Sea II
28. Regional Case Studies: North Sea III
29. Regional Case Studies: Mediterranean Sea I
30. Regional Case Studies: Mediterranean Sea II
31. Coastal Hypoxia I
32. Coastal Hypoxia II
33. Isotopes as Tools I: Introduction; Application of Radiogenic Isotopes
34. Isotopes as Tools II: Stable Isotopes
35. Isotopes as Tools III: Applications of Stable Isotopes
36. Revision Session

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion13:003:00Examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion362:0072:00Examination revision
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Completing summative assessment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion117:0017:00Preparation for summative assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture361:0036:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading362:1581:00Lecture follow up: reading
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading362:0072:00Lecture follow up: ReCap
Guided Independent StudySkills practice160:308:00Preparation for online test
Guided Independent StudySkills practice11:001:00Online test
Total300:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are designed to give students a broad factual knowledge of fundamental processes which control the distribution of marine life in the world's oceans on global and regional scales.


Directed research and reading will support the information received through formal lectures by guided independent study using key texts. Students will be encouraged to become more independent in their learning at this stage in their programmes to develop key skills such as Active Learning, Goal Setting and Action Planning, Decision Making, Adaptability and Initiative, which they will require at Level 6.

Assessment preparation and completion will allow students to fully prepare for their formative and summative coursework, and their written examination. They will have the opportunity to consolidate and build upon knowledge gained in the taught sessions.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A35N/A
Written Examination1202A35N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M304 equally weighted 500 word (or equivalent) coursework exercises
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment2MOnline formative assessment
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The formative online assessment in the middle of Semester 2 is designed to monitor student’s understanding of the taught material mid-way through the module. This will allow students and staff to identify areas to revisit and revise in the remainder of the semester to ensure fully awareness of the Intended Knowledge and Intended Skills Outcomes.

The 2000 word summative coursework will assess student’s knowledge of the fundamental processes influencing the marine environment, through a series of short answer questions, in addition to examining their use of the relevant literature to support their ideas and their ability to present information in an appropriate scientific format.

The written examination will assess the level of knowledge and understanding of all aspects of the module, including student reading. The written examination will be divided into two papers and will include questions to assess the breadth of knowledge acquired throughout the module.

Paper 1
Part A – short answer questions. Answer all questions to produce notes on a range of topics
Part B – data interpretation. Answer 1 question from 1

Paper 2
Part A - essay question. Answer 1 question from 2
Part B – essay question. Answer 1 question from 2

Reading Lists

Timetable