MST1013 : Field and Laboratory Techniques in Marine Biology & Oceanography

  • Module Leader(s): Prof. Matt Bentley
  • Owning School: Marine Sciences & Technology
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To introduce students to fundamental principles of field sampling methods,field observations and recording, whilst using shore-based exercise and boat-work to measure physical and biological characteristics of estuarine and coastal environments. To introduce standard laboratory procedures for routine seawater analyses and data handling techniques.

This module will give you the opportunity to undertake practical field work in the field as well as a series of laboratory and computer-based exercises. You will have the opportunity to go aboard the Research Vessel to see at first hand the capabilites of the vessel for sampling plankton, the marine benthos and water column. Field exercises will enable you to undertake qualitative and quantitative ecological investigations on the rocky shore. Laboratory classes will focus on techniques appropriate for sea water analysis and computer exercises will look at handling real oceanographic data.

Outline Of Syllabus

Shore Based sampling:
(Field exercise and laboratory practical sessions)
1. Macroalgal recognition, invertebrate associations and zonation
2. Soft sediment macrofauna and granulometry
3. Quantitative shore sampling for sessile invertebrates; effects of quadrant size; data analysis
will include calculations of means, variances, standard deviations and distribution in dices
(bionomial, Poisson and negative bionomial)

Boat Based Sampling:
(Boat exercise on new Research Vessel)
1. Phytoplankton sampling; chlorophyll estimation
2. Zooplankton sampling
3. Benthic grab sampling for macro-invertebrates
4. Hydrographic sampling; CTD & Niskin bottle(s)

Laboratory Practical Sessions:
1. Designing and Using Keys (Semester 1)
2. Seawater Chemistry (Semester 2)
3. Oceanographic Data Exercise (Semester 2)

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture12:002:00Introductory Meeting
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture61:006:00Including Tutorials
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Preparation of revision material and practicing past examination papers
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion44:0016:00Boat Work Sampling Session Write-Ups
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion36:0018:00Fieldwork Practical Reports
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion36:0018:00Lab Practical Write-Up
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical34:0012:00Lab Practicals
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical38:0024:00Fieldwork Practical
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading168:0068:00Includes background reading and review of lecture notes for a full understanding of material
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork44:0016:00Boat Based Sampling Sessions
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
MST1003Field and Laboratory Techniques in Marine Biology
MST1014Field and Laboratory Techniques in Marine Zoology
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The laboratory, boat and field-based practical classes complement the lectures given in other modules taken by Marine Biology Stage 1 undergraduates and allow the development and practising of appropriate marine science technical skills.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M20Field Notes Practical - 2 pages in length
Practical/lab report1M20Qualitative Rocky Shore Practical - 2 pages in length
Practical/lab report2M20Quantitive Rocky Shore Practical - 2 pages in length
Practical/lab report2M20Seawater Chemistry Practical - 2 pages in length
Practical/lab report2M20Computer Data Exercise Practical - 2 pages in length
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Field and laboratory reports assess the students' observational, recording and written/drawn presentational skills. Where appropriate they will also include the details of the selection of appropriate measures/statistics and data handling procedures and the interpretation of results. They will also include details of the Health and Safety procedures.
Prompt feedback aids development of these skills, through early recognition of weakness, as the module progresses.
The laboratory practical exercises will allow you to develop expertise in a range of key skills, and in the interpretation and presentation of experimental and observational data in a logical and readily accessible scientific form. The Graduate Skills Framework entries indicated as 'A' are also assessed in this way.

Reading Lists


Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.