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NES1502 : Diversity of Marine Animals

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Theresa Rueger
  • Lecturer: Dr William Reid, Dr Sara Marsham, Professor Per Berggren, Dr Benjamin Wigham
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


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 appreciation and understanding of the key physiological processes that influence the distribution and success of different marine phyla.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introduction to Classification, biodiversity and taxonomy. Outlining the factors which control biodiversity, and the ways in which organisms are grouped taxonomically.

Biology of Marine Invertebrates. An introduction to the taxonomy, physiology, and behaviour of key marine invertebrate phyla.

Biology of Marine Vertebrates. An introduction to the taxonomy, physiology, and behaviour of key marine vertebrate phyla.

Marine Physiological Processes. An indication to the key physiological processes relevant to the marine environment, including respiration, circulation and blood chemistry, feeding, excretion and osmoregulation..

Revision Session. Dedicated revision session aimed at preparing students for the exam.

An alternative assessment will be set for any Semester 1 Study Abroad student taking this module, who will not be in Newcastle during the January assessment period.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Completion of Inspera exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture311:0031:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion216:0032:00Completion of formative and summative 1 coursework assessment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion300:3015:00Revision of course material for exam
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities101:0010:00Completion of end of week quizzes
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading165:0065:00Lecture follow up: wider reading
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study301:3045:00Lecture follow up: ReCap and supplementary material
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 physiological processes in response to genetic and environmental influences and how marine animals adapt their physiology to maximise their survival in marine environments.

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, which they will require at Levels 5 and 6.

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 lecture sessions.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination1501A70Inspera digital exam. 2.5hr duration. Comprises 3 parts. Part A Short questions (30); Part B Short notes (6 from 10); Part C Short Essay (1 from 3)
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M30Coursework 2. 1000 word (or equivalent) summative coursework 1
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MCoursework 1. 1000 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 diversity of form and function in specific taxa and how marine organisms utilise may different behaviours and physiological adaptations to maximise survival in the marine environment. 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 2.5 hour Inspera digital exam 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. The exam is set in the assessment period.

Study Abroad students should contact the school to discuss alternative assessment arrangements for the Inspera exam.

Reading Lists