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MST8011 : Understanding Marine Ecosystems

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Pip Moore
  • Lecturer: Professor John Bythell, Dr Miguel Morales Maqueda, Dr William Reid
  • Teaching Assistant: Dr James Guest
  • Other Staff: Mrs Julia Robinson
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


An advanced understanding of the major biological, ecological and physical processes affecting critical evaluation of human impacts on productive marine ecosystems.

A rare mix of ecology and oceanography with case studies and principles of ecosystem functioning and management. The module provides a unique background to the scientific understanding and management issues surrounding the most human-impacted areas of the planet.

Outline Of Syllabus

Seminars: module introduction, introduction to projects (PM). Science process, advocacy and approaches to gathering evidence (PM). Drivers of heterogeneity in primary production in the oceans (MM). Effects of ocean physics on particular systems (MM). Population and community ecology (PM). Alternate states, role of biodiversity in ecosystem resistance and resilience (PM) Climate change and environmental impacts on temperate reefs (PM).Concepts of ecosystem management and ecosystem services (PM). Climate change and environmental impacts on tropical reefs (JB). Ecosystem restoration: concepts, strengths and pitfalls (JG). Deep-sea ecosystems (WR).

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion175:0075:00Review paper prepartion
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00Planning exercise for presentations
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities21:002:00Working through canvas materials to guide students through literature searches
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading150:0050:00Literature searching, project scoping and guided reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching173:0051:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops13:003:00Presentation skills and scenario building
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time41:004:00Online drop in sessions to support review paper preparation
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Seminars will provide a range of information and access to further information sources on physical, biological and socially-relevant processes in the coastal zone. Seminars and tutorials will best allow students to reflect on environmental issues facing coastal populations, their problems, causes and potential solutions and the aspects that they wish to focus on for their projects (IKO1-3). Skills in literature research and communication will be built by a scientific literature review (ISO1-4), for which students will each select their own topic.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation151M3015 minute team presentation.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research paper1M70Literature Review: Max 2500 words excluding figures, tables, references and appendices
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Research paper1MFormative feedback on literature review plan
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Formative feedback will be given to students on development of project ideas and objectives. Criticism and summative assessment of the literature review will test each student's ability to: present a well-structured scientific report with good English usage, citation, referencing, and word processing, and appropriate illustration/tables; review of topic with fidelity, clarity of understanding and adequate scientific literature coverage; and show clarity and innovation of scientific argument. Electronic document submission will allow for originality assessment to be made. Students' ability to work in teams to prepare and present a on a topic related to marine management, negotiate and learn lessons from competing interests will be assessed by the role play exercises that are summatively assessed.

Reading Lists