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MST2201 : Ecology of Marine Systems

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jane Delany
  • Lecturer: Dr Heather Sugden, Professor Pip Moore, Professor John Bythell
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To build on the fundamentals of the functioning of key marine ecosystems introduced at Stage 1 (Level 4). To provide an understanding of core ecological concepts and terms and to equip students with the framework to approach ecological study of any marine system. To extend understanding of the complexity and variety of marine habitats, and the key drivers of ecosystem functioning in each. To gain an appreciation of the impact of human activities on coastal habitats and how they are managed. To develop a detailed understanding of the major categories of anthropogenic impacts on marine systems, their mechanisms of effect, their sources, and fates.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lectures and lecture material based on the following themes:

1.       Ecological patterns and drivers
2.       Competition
3.       Predation
4.       Grazing
5.       Disturbance
6.       Recruitment and supply
7.       Tropical biodiversity and ecology
8.       Ecosystem goods and services
9.       Marine protected Areas
10.       Management and governance
11.       Pollution – oil and sewage
12.       Pollution – plastics and other persistent pollutants

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture242:2558:00Lecture follow up: ReCap and supplementary material
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion240:3012:00Revision of course material for summative assessment 2
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture211:0021:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion16:006:00Completion of summative 2 coursework assessment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials41:004:00Asynchronous online
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion210:0020:00Completion of formative and summative 1 coursework assessment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading253:0075:00Lecture follow up: Wider reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops13:003:00Workshop to consolidate asynchronous materials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Workshop briefing and consolidation of asynchronous content
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures and supporting materials are designed to give students a broad factual knowledge of key concepts in ecology, and their role as drivers of marine ecosystem functioning. The lectures will focus on species and community interaction in a variety of marine habitats and the range of pollutants and anthropogenic stressors that impact on marine systems.

Non-synchronous delivery lecture materials are designed to build on the introduction to marine management concepts, and the conservation of the marine environment of Stage 1. The briefing session and workshop will consolidate this material in a ‘practical marine management’ themed session where students have the opportunity to interact with industry professionals in the marine management sector.

Directed research, through the use of supplementary online material and activities, and wider reading of the scientific literature will support the information received through lectures. Independent study will be guided through the use of these materials and online access to key texts/eBooks. 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.

Assessment preparation and completion will allow students to fully prepare for both their formative and summative coursework assessments. They will have the opportunity to consolidate and build upon knowledge gained in the asynchronous and synchronous sessions.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination1801A65Essay (45% of module) Inspera Short Question Quiz (20% of module)
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M351000 word (or equivalent) Summative coursework 1
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1M1000 word (or equivalent) Formative coursework 1
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The two 1000-word (or equivalent) pieces of formative and summative coursework will assess student’s knowledge of the major processes in the marine environment, the key ecological concepts that underpin these processes, the range of stressors acting on these systems and the ways in which impact is mitigated against and managed. 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 online quiz and essay will assess the level of breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding of all aspects of the module, including incorporation of additional online resources and student wider reading

Reading Lists