MST1202 : Diversity of Marine Animals

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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 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.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Written examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion210:0020:00Completion of summative coursework assessment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion26:0012:00Preparation of summative coursework assessment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion300:3015:00Revision for examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture311:0031:0030 lectures plus one revision session
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading302:0060:00Lecture follow up: further reading
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study302:0060:00Lecture follow up: ReCap
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 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 Examination1201A60N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M201000 (or equivalent) coursework exercise
Written exercise1M201000 (or equivalent) coursework exercise
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The two 1000 word (or equivalent) summative courseworks will assess student’s knowledge of how marine organisms utilise 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 written examination will assess the level of knowledge and understanding of all aspects of the module, including student reading.

Reading Lists