Study Abroad and Exchanges



MST1101 : Marine Biology

Semester 1 Credit Value: 15
Semester 2 Credit Value: 15
ECTS Credits: 15.0


To enable students to gain knowledge of the fundamental processes and functions of key marine ecosystems, and introduce them to the identification, biology and ecology of marine primary producers and micro-organisms. To provide an understanding of the importance of marine ecosystems in relation to their distribution and productivity, and introduce students to different organismal processes such as feeding strategies, reproductive strategies and adaptations to biotic and abiotic factors. To relate knowledge of organisms in different ecosystems to each other and compare organisms in different environments.

Outline Of Syllabus

37 x 1 hour lectures based on the following topics:

1. Introduction to Marine Ecology
2. Open Oceans
3. Polar Seas
4. The Deep Sea I
5. The Deep Sea II
6. Novel Habitats
7. Coral Reefs
8. Sublittoral Zone
9. Mangroves and Seagrasses
10. Kelp Forests
11. Rocky Shore I
12. Rocky Shore II
13. Sediment Shores
14. Estuaries
15. Lagoons
16. Sand Dunes
17. Salt Marshes
18. Introduction to the Evolution of Algae and Plants
19. Photosynthesis and the Photosynthetic Apparatus I
20. Photosynthesis and the Photosynthetic Apparatus II
21. Photosynthetic Bacteria
22. Macroalgal Diversity
23. Life Histories and Reproduction of Macroalgae
24. Microalgal Diversity and Ecology I
25. Microalgal Diversity and Ecology II
26. Algae in Extreme Environments
27. Applied Phycology
28. Introduction to the Evolution and Diversity of Marine Bacteria
29. Introduction to Bacterial Genetics
30. Marine Viruses
31. Viruses and Nutrient Cycling
32. Marine Viruses and Gene Transfer
33. Protozooplankton
34. Mesozooplankton
35. Merozooplankton
36. Nekton
37. Revision Session

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture381:0038:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion360:3018:00Examination revision
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Completing summative assessment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Preparation for summative assessment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading362:0072:00Lecture follow up: reading
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading362:0072:00Lecture follow up: ReCap
Guided Independent StudySkills practice200:3010:00Preparation for online test
Guided Independent StudySkills practice11:001:00Online test
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study157:0057:00General Reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are designed to give students a broad factual knowledge of key biological principles and essential details relating to marine ecosystem type and function, and important marine organisms. The lectures will focus on comparing and contrasting the structure of key marine ecosystems and how organisms are adapted to surviving in a particular habitat. They will also cover important groups of marine organisms, including their diversity, classification, distribution, survival strategies and adaptations.

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, and Initiative, which they will require at Levels 5 and 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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A60N/A
PC Examination601A10Online assessment
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M152 equally weighted 500 word (or equivalent) coursework exercises -Semester 1
Written exercise2M152 equally weighted 500 word (or equivalent) coursework exercises - Semester 2
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The summative online assessment at the end of Semester 1 is designed to monitor students understanding of the taught material mid-way through the module. This will allow students and staff to identify areas to revisit and revise in semester 2 to ensure fully awareness of the Intended Knowledge and Intended Skills Outcomes.

The 2000 word summative coursework will assess students knowledge of how marine organisms utilise ecosystems and partition resource requirements, 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 four parts and will include questions to assess the breadth of knowledge acquired throughout the module.
Part A – complete the missing word/phrase. Answer all 30 questions (30 marks)
Part B – provide a definition of a term. Answer all 5 questions (20 marks)
Part C – short answer questions of either written text or a figure. Answer 4 questions from 6 (20 marks)
Part D – brief essay. Answer 1 question from 3 (30 marks)

Reading Lists