production
Skip to Content

ZO3306: MARINE ECOLOGY AND ECOSYSTEMS (2019-2020)

Last modified: 25 Sep 2019 09:58


Course Overview

This course builds on foundations of marine biology established at Level 2 to develop an understanding of how marine organisms interact with each other and with the environment, and of how these processes are involved in the ‘functioning’ of marine ecosystems. Ecosystem function relates to the role of biological processes on the fluxes of energy and matter through an ecosystem and how these are reflected in biodiversity and rates of biological production. The course builds towards an introduction to the ‘ecosystem-based approach’ to management, in which an understanding of ecosystem processes inform regulation of human activities in the marine environment.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Dr Philip Smith

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

None.

Are there a limited number of places available?

No

Course Description

This course explores the ecology of marine organisms and aims to explain our current understanding of patterns and processes in a variety of marine ecosystems. Marine ecology is the study of how marine organisms interact with their environment, and with members of their own and other species. Understanding these interactions is essential whether your interests in the marine environment are narrow (e.g. particular groups of species) or broad (e.g. oceanic processes). At the ecosystem-level, describing patterns over broad spatial or temporal scales is essential to interpreting how the marine environment behaves in response to global processes; e.g., climate change, pollution, and overfishing. For example, an understanding of marine ecology is needed to address such questions as: ‘What determines the distribution and abundance of marine species?’, ‘What processes govern the population dynamics and productivity of individual marine species?’, ‘What causes the variation seen in marine biodiversity in space and time?’, ‘How and why does the structure of marine food webs vary?’, ‘How do these variations relate to ecosystem processes, such as the efficiency of energy transfer and rate of nutrient recycling?’

Running over 6 weeks, the course comprises two double lecture sessions per week and five practicals of 5–8 hours duration.

Lectures will deepen your understanding of essential physical oceanography, and the key components and interactions of marine food webs, before exploring the characteristics of major marine ecosystems, such as polar oceans, shelf seas, coastal systems (both temperate and tropical) and the deep sea. Related topics in marine management and conservation will also be addressed.

The practicals include a three-week multidisciplinary study of an estuarine ecosystem; investigation of the morphology and adaptations of a wide range of fishes; and quantitative analysis of a deep-sea survey. The practicals will develop your field and laboratory skills, both in groups and individually, as well as your abilities in data analysis and producing reports of marine biological investigations.

Broadly, the course aims to:

  • develop your understanding of factors influencing primary and secondary production in the sea
  • use examples to explain the determinants of species distributions and patterns of marine biodiversity
  • amplify your knowledge of the characteristics of marine food webs in different environments
  • explore in detail the characteristics of specific marine ecosystems from different regions, with an emphasis on trophic interactions
  • introduce the basic principles of the Ecosystem Approach, and to identify the information required to implement this approach to management
  • develop your abilities in multidisciplinary and integrative thinking
  • extend your abilities to record, analyse, interpret and present marine ecological data

NB: this is a core course in the Marine Biology programme that relies on a sound understanding of material delivered at Level 2. In addition, marine ecology is in part a quantitative biological discipline and so this course requires good numerical skills in data handling and statistical analysis.


Details, including assessment, may be subject to change until 31 July 2022 for 1st half-session courses and 23 December 2022 for 2nd half-session courses.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Field Course during University week14
  • 1 Science Laboratory during University weeks 13, 15 - 17
  • 1 Lecture during University weeks 12, 17
  • 2 Lectures during University weeks 13 - 16

More Information about Week Numbers


Details, including assessment, may be subject to change until 31 July 2022 for 1st half-session courses and 23 December 2022 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

Assessment of Laboratory Work

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 50
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback

Feedback will be provided as marks and written comments for each task.

Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Exam

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 50
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback

Written feedback is provided for every practical report handed in. Online tests incorporate pre-prepared feedback.

Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Resit Assessments

Re-submission of failed elements

Assessment Type Summative Weighting
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Compatibility Mode

We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.