MST2206 : Deep-Sea and Polar Biology (Inactive)

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To appreciate the diverse range of deep-sea and marine habitats and the challenges they provide for the organisms living there.
To develop an understanding of how variability in the form and function of these organisms allows them to exist in a range of challenging environments and habitats.
To gain knowledge of the physiology and life-history of a range of deep-sea and polar marine organisms and how certain specialisations enhance the ecological success of those species.
To develop and understanding of how the links between geology, chemistry and biology in these system helps to shape the distribution of species.
To appreciate the particular challenges faced by these systems from anthropogenic perturbation and climate change.

Outline Of Syllabus

24 x 1hr lectures ( plus 1hr revision) based on the following themes will be delivered;

Bathyal, Abyssal and Hadal Ecology
Adaptations to life in the dark
Vision and Bioluminescence
Food-webs and energy sources
Reproduction and larval biology
Diversity and endemism of deep-water and polar fauna
Adaptation and responses to low temperature
Adaptation and responses to warming temperatures
Anthropogenic impacts on deep-sea and polar ecosystems

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion210:0020:00Preparation for coursework exercises
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion24:008:00Completion of two coursework exercises
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion121:0012:00Revision for two examinations
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion21:303:00Examinations
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture251:0025:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture184:0084:00Consolidating lecture material and reading beyond the syllabus
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading241:0024:00Lecture follow up: directed reading
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading241:0024:00Lecture follow up: ReCap
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are designed to give students a broad factual knowledge of key biological principles and essential details relating to marine animals and how they are adapted to deep-sea and polar environments, The lectures will cover morphological, physiological and behavioural adaptations, reproduction and the importance of habitat variability in structuring deep-sea and polar ecosystems. Lectures will also introduce students to the potential for anthropogenic ally driven change in these habitats and the impacts of climate, pollution and resource extraction.

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, Adaptability and Initiative, which they will require at Level 6.

Assessment preparation and completion will allow students to fully prepare for their summative coursework and 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 Examination902A35Paper 1
Written Examination902A35Paper 2
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M15Coursework exercise (1000 words)
Written exercise2M15Coursework exercise (1000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The 2 x 1000 word summative coursework will assess student’s knowledge of specific aspects of the course through a combination of written work and data analysis, in addition to examining their use of the relevant literature to support their ideas and their ability to present information in an appropriate scientific format.

The written examination will assess the level of knowledge and understanding of all key themes of the module, including student wider reading. The written examination will be divided into two papers, each of equal weighting, and will include questions to assess the depth and breadth of knowledge acquired throughout the module as well as the student’s ability to interpret and synthesise published data relevant to the course themes.
Paper 1: Consists of two parts;
Part A – short answer questions. Answer all questions using short notes or diagrams on a range of topics
Part B – data analysis and interpretation question. Answer all questions relating the interpretation and understanding of data from a published scientific journal article, with content relevant to the themes of the module.
Paper 2: Consists of two parts;
Part A: Essay-style question. Answer one question from choice of three
Part B: Essay-style question. Answer one question from choice of three

Reading Lists