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NES2502 : Applied Marine Biology

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Gary Caldwell
  • Lecturer: Professor Clare Fitzsimmons, Dr Sarah Coulthard, Professor Grant Burgess
  • 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 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module aims to make students aware of a representative range of applied contexts (including industrial, biotechnology, food production, surveying) in which their marine science skills may be applied. This module will highlight how fundamental understanding of marine organisms can be developed into commercial opportunities (at varying levels of development), thus bringing into focus subsequent employment opportunities for Marine Science graduates. The module is designed to encompass established employment sectors for marine scientists (aquaculture for example) together with awareness raising of developing sectors (particularly hi-tech sectors) such as the development and application of synthetic biology approaches in a marine context. The module will deliver lectures within five themes: 1) marine social sciences and policy; 2) marine mapping; 3) aquaculture and fisheries; 4) algae biotechnology; and 5) molecular marine biology.

Outline Of Syllabus

In-person lectures plus module talks based on the following themes will be delivered;

Marine social science and policy
Spatial and habitat mapping
Food production: aquaculture and fisheries
Algae biotechnology
Molecular marine biology

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion116:0016:00Summative piece 2
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion116:0016:00Summative piece 1
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture251:0025:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion154:0054:00Reading in support of lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion116:0016:00Formative coursework (choice of one from two)
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading18:008:00Linked with summative assessment 2
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities142:0028:00Online lecture materials describing Case Studies linked to lecture themes
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study137:0037:00Reading beyond lectures
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures are designed to provide students with a broad perspective of the business and industrial opportunities open to Marine Science graduates, with a particular focus on biotechnology opportunities, including the role of social science and policy making. A vital learning outcome will be that students will appreciate the importance of not falling into the mentality of silo working and that involving other disciplines and voices in projects can greatly improve success and uptake. The lecture series will reinforce the importance of excellent science that underpins the establishment of marine businesses, particularly the opportunities being created through high throughput multi-omics platforms and the importance of transdisciplinary work – for instance, the need for increased collaboration between biologists and process engineers. The link between fundamental organismal biology and the capacity to exploit biomass and metabolites is a central theme of the lecture series. The lectures will also highlight how spatial mapping techniques (increasingly of a hi-tech nature) contribute to the sustainable expansion of marine industries and to the effectiveness of marine conservation initiatives.

Lectures are intended to be delivered as present-in-person.

Directed reading and the use of specific business orientated case studies will support the lecture information received. 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, Adaptability and Initiative, which they will require at Level 6.

Assessment preparation and completion will allow students to fully prepare for their summative coursework. 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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M30Coursework exercise (1000 words or equivalent)
Written exercise2M70Coursework exercise (3000 words or equivalent)
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 exercise2MChoice of 1 from 2 formative assessments (each 500 words or equivalent)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The module offers the students the choice of one from two formative assessments (each 500 words or equivalent). Presenting optional formative assessments will allow the student to tailor their learning experience to more closely match their academic interests. Formative option 1 offers the students an opportunity to engage with satellite data and gain experience in forming and manipulating 3D models. Formative option 2 offers students with a stronger interest in commercialising marine biology the opportunity to experience developing a commercialisation strategy from marine laboratory observations. Both formative assessments support and consolidate the information delivered in the corresponding lecture sessions (formative 1: marine mapping and monitoring, formative 2: marine molecular ecology and biotechnology).

The module includes two summative assessments. The first (30% of module mark) will be a group activity and will provide the student with experience in bioreactor design, proposal writing and research consortium building. The second summative assessment (70% of module mark) affords the students the opportunity to choose which assessments they will undertake, requiring a choice of two (1500 word) essays (or variations thereof) from a selection of four offered titles. Each title will cover core areas of each of the four major lecture themes.

Reading Lists