Study Abroad and Exchanges



MST1102 : Diversity and Behaviour of Marine Animals

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


To provide an introduction to the conventions of taxonomic nomenclature and systematics. To enable students to gain knowledge of the functional diversity of the both the larval and adult stages of major invertebrate and vertebrate taxonomic groupings in the marine environment. To relate knowledge of organismal characteristics to the internal anatomy of key marine organisms. To provide an understanding of the adaptation of marine fish, birds and reptiles in the marine environment and their special importance in relation to human activities. To provide an introduction to the scientific study of the mechanisms, development, function and evolution of animal behaviour.

Outline Of Syllabus

37 x 1 hour lectures based on the following topics:

Introduction to Classification:
1. Introduction to Biodiversity
2. Factors Controlling Biodiversity I
3. Factors Controlling Biodiversity II
4. Factors Controlling Biodiversity III
5. Classification and Taxonomy
6. Using Keys in Taxonomy

Biology of Marine Invertebrates:
7. Porifera
8. Cnidaria
9. Crustacea I
10. Crustacea II
11. Mollusca I
12. Mollusca II
13. Annelida I
14. Annelida II
15. Nematodes and Nemerteans
16. Bryozoa
17. Echinodermata I
18. Echinodermata II
19. Hemichordata and Urochordata

Biology of Marine Vertebrates:
20. Marine Vertebrate Introduction and Diversity
21. Bony Fish Diversity and Anatomy
22. Cartilage Fish Diversity and Anatomy
23. Cetacean Diversity and Anatomy
24. Pinniped Diversity and Anatomy
25. Seabird Diversity and Anatomy
26. Reptiles, Sirenians, Mustelids and Ursid Diversity and Anatomy

Animal Behaviour:
27. Introduction to Animal Behaviour
28. Genes and Development of Behaviour
29. Evolution of Behaviour
30. Development of Behaviour
31. Feeding Behaviour
32. Anti-predator Behaviour
33. Communication
34. Choosing Where to Live
35. Reproduction and Sexual Selection
36. Evolution of Social Behaviour
37. Revision Session

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
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
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture381:0038:00N/A
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 practice11:001:00Online test
Guided Independent StudySkills practice200:3010:00Preparation for online test
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study157:0057:00General Reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are designed to give students a broad factual knowledge of key marine invertebrate phyla and vertebrate groups. The lectures will focus on the classification, key characteristics, anatomy, biology and ecology and how organisms are adapted to surviving in a particular habitat. They will also cover the evolution of development of different behaviours in response to genetic and environmental influences and how marine animals use these behaviours to maximise their survival in marine environments.

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 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 semester 2 to ensure fully awareness of the Intended Knowledge and Intended Skills Outcomes.

The 2000 word summative coursework will assess student’s knowledge of how marine organisms utilise different behaviours to maximise survival in the marine environment, through a series of short answer questions. In addition student’s use of the relevant literature to support their ideas and their ability to present information in an appropriate scientific format will be examined.

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