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Field Trip (Cromarty)

Course Co-ordinator: Professor Paul Thompson and Dr Beth Scott

Pre-requisite(s): Available only to students enrolled for the Masters Programme in Applied Marine & Fisheries Ecology

Lectures, field trips and problem solving sessions, as well as opportunities to meet representatives of management bodies to discuss how this information is used in practice.

4 one-hour lectures embedded in 5 full days of field work, site-visits and problem solving and discussion sessions

Group presentation of project work conducted during course and assessed seminars in week 27 on topics related to residential course

Fish Biology

Course Co-ordinator: Dr C. Tara Marshall

Pre-requisite(s): x

Co-requisite(s): x

This module will survey fundamental aspects of the biology of different components of the fish community through lectures and practicals. At the individual level, the life cycles and life history strategies of fish will be summarised. Key aspects of population-level biology, including fish migration and population structure, will be covered. Case studies for a range of key Scottish species will also be covered. the relevance of fisheries biology to fisheries management will be highlighted throughout the course

Five 2-hour lectures each week; two 7-hour practicals; one computer based practical

The module wil be assessed on two graded practicals (50% each)


Course Co-ordinator: Dr Thelma Fletcher, Dr Rachel Kilburn, and Dr Sam Martin


Criteria for species selection.
Diseases and Parasitology of fish and shellfish. Control and treatment. Health regulations. Epidemiology of disease.
Environmental implications of aquaculture.
Nutrition and feed technology.
Genetics and selective breeding.

Lectures, seminars and site visit(s). Threaded module.

Continuous assessment with one essay (2,500 words)

Population and Community Ecology

Course Co-ordinator: x

Pre-requisite(s): x

Co-requisite(s): x

Note(s): x

This course will explore current understanding based on theoretical and empirical studies of processes operating in populations of organisms. It will move from single isolated populations to single species populations arranged in space and linked by the movement of individuals, to consideration of trophic interactions, including predator prey, parasite host and plant herbivores as well as species embedded in more complex set of trophic interactions, including apparent competition. Simple discrete time models will be considered and used by the students to explore those interactions.

2 two-hour lectures per week; 1 x three-hour tutorial/discussion/data analysis session per week

Continuous assessment by means of a mini-project relating to a case study.

Fisheries Technologies and Surveys

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Paul Fernandes and Dr Dave Reid

Pre-requisite(s): x

Co-requisite(s): x

Note(s): x

The first part of this unit deals with fishing gear technology and fish behaviour. It includes lectures on the various types of gear including trawls, gill nets and ghost fishing, as well as measurement and observation in gear experiments. Various behavioural concepts are covered including swimming and fish sensory systems with a further look at fish vision. A visit to FRS' Fish behaviour Unit (FBU) is included in this unit. The concept of selectivity is described in theoretical detail and is then followed by a description of the various selectivity techniques and a review of unaccounted mortality; a short practical on selectivity is given. A lecture on technical measures describes some of the main techniques used to control the fishery. A final lecture on applied behaviour considers how research can influence gear design and fishing practice.

The second part covers fishery independent (surveys) methods, with emphasis on the acoustic survey technique. This is another intensive week-long programme of lectures and practicals dealing with fishery independent (surveys) data. Lectures are given on each of the main survey methods: acoustic, trawl, larvae, egg and TV surveys. The general design concept, relating to all types of survey, is addressed in a lecture and illustrated through a practical as applied to acoustic surveys. Particular attention is then given to the more complex acoustic survey techniques. Lectures cover the physics of sound, acoustic instruments, the acoustic properties of fish and methods of biomass estimation. An acoustic survey data analysis lecture is followed by a practical which details the procedures from acoustic measurement to a global estimate of abundance. Finally, lectures are given covering survey statistics common to all methods, including one on geostatistics.

- 11 lectures on fish technology and behaviour
- 11 lectures on surveys
- 1 practical on survey design
- 1 practical on [acoustic] survey analysis

The module will be assessed based on 2-graded practicals (70% for analysis and 30% for design)

Marine Landscapes and Spatial Management

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Beth Scott

Pre-requisite(s): Successful completion of Marine Ecology and Ecosystem management, Fisheries Biology and Population Ecology modules.

Co-requisite(s): Spatial Information Analysis (GIS).

Note(s): Numerical and modelling skills are needed to successfully complete this module.

Week 1 Lectures topics:
Habitat Landscapes and Ecological Geography
Marine Spatial Planning: Current EU and UK legislation, locations and levels of protection areas in UK waters
Lab: Use of 1-D bio-physical coupled model for exploring definition of marine landscapes and climatic effects on trophic linkages within a range of landscapes.

Week 2 Lectures topics:
Spatial explicit exploitation and species population dynamics
Spatial feeding and reproductive needs of selected species
Lab: Use individual based cod model to explore population effects of differences in times and locations of exploitation.

Week 3:
Working in groups on the reasons for the design and methods for testing (and defining) the success of a MPA (Marine Protected Area).

2 two-hour lectures each week (thread I); 2 seven-hour practicals (Thursday week 1 and 2, thread I).

The module will be assessed (100%) on an independently produced assignment of group project work that designs and defines the reasons for an MPA (Marine Protected Area).

Marine Top Predator Ecology

Course Co-ordinator: Professor Paul Thompson

Pre-requisite(s): Level 5 courses: 'Core Marine Biology and Ecology Concepts' and 'Population Ecology'

Lectures will cover the theory and practice of assessing change in the size, status and distribution of seabird and marine mammal populations. Our focus will be on UK monitoring and research programmes, but we will draw comparison with similar initiatives in the EU and North America. Practical sessions will include an introduction to the equipment, field and analytical techniques used in these programmes, and aim to build on key skills (e.g. GIS) developed earlier in the degree programme. Field trips will incorporate visits to key monitoring sites in the North East of Scotland, and discussion with organisations responsible for the monitoring, management and interpretation of these populations.

An important component of the courses will be the use of seminars, directed learning and group problem-solving to explore the factors that drive population change, and to assess the potential impacts of different types of human development on marine top predator populations. Lectures will also provide background to policy drivers and regulatory frameworks relevant to current issues in this area.

Two 2-hour seminars, and one 3-hour practical/computer lab each week. Full day field visits in weeks 1 and 2, and group project work in week 3.

100% continuous assessment, based on independent written report following group project work.

Ecosystem Management

Course Co-ordinator: Dr David Lusseau and Dr Beth Scott

Pre-requisite(s): Successful completion of Introductory, Experimental Design, Fisheries Biology and Fisheries Ecology, Marine Ecosystem Biology and Population ecology modules.

Note(s): A comprehensive understanding of the preceding course material is needed to successfully complete this module.

Representatives from 3 stake-holding groups (Governmental statutory agencies, consultants, and Non-Governmental organisations) will provide lectures to present their role in the management of marine resources. The topics will cover statutory obligation on species and habitat directives, pollution, marine spatial planning, tourism, and offshore renewables.

This course will introduce students to a range of professionals involved in implanting ecosystem based management. It will require students to take a stand on issues that are still controversial and require them to present their views in both an oral and written account.

- Between 12 and 18 2-hour lectures for the first week
- Student presentations (0.5 hours each) and class debate (up to 0.5 hours per presentation) (in week 2)

The module will be assessed based on the individual's oral presentations (40%) and a written, journal style paper (60%)

Stock Assessment

Course Co-ordinator: Mr Coby Needle and Dr Helen Dobby

Pre-requisite(s): Successful completion of the Professional Development Course (specifically the biostatistics components)

Note(s): Strong numerical and computing skills are needed to successfully complete this module

The module will be divided in three components each lasting one week.
Week 1: Introduction to stock assessment
Students are introduced to the basic principles of stock assessment, and are taught methods for generating simulated data for subsequent analysis.
- Topic 1: Basic assessment principles.
- Topic 2: Fishery data collection.
- Topic 3: Data simulation.

Week 2: Single-species stock assessment models
Students are tasked with writing functions to implement simple stock assessment models, which they will test by applying to the data simulated in the first week.
- Topic 1: Separable models.
- Topic 2: Cohort analysis.
- Topic 3: Length-based assessment.

Week 3: Forecasts, management advice, multi-species approaches
In the third week, students will carry the methods and results from the first two weeks forward into analysis of the fisheries management advisory process. This leads into work on alternative multispecies approaches.
- Topic 1: Short-term forecasts.
- Topic 2: Multi-species models.
- Topic 3: Management advice.

The course will consist of a combination of computer-based practical sessions and lectures. The lectures will be more informal than usual and will not be strictly timetabled.

The module will be assessed based on a single graded exercise (100%), to be handed in after the end of the course.

Project in Ecology

Course Co-ordinator: Individual Supervisors

Pre-requisite(s): Successfully complete postgraduate taught courses to a satisfactory standard

Co-requisite(s): None



continuous Assessment/Oral examination

Netowrk Science

Course Co-ordinator: Dr David Lusseau

Pre-requisite(s): Successful completion of Experimental Design and Analysis module .

Note(s): Strong numerical skills are needed to successfully complete this module.

The module will be divided in three components each lasting one week.

Week 1: computer intensive statistical techniques

Students are introduced to computer intensive statistical techniques required to understand some of the network analyses.
- Topic 1: bootstrap; jackknife
- Topic 2: permutations
- Topic 3: randomisation tests

Week 2: Network structure

- Topic 1: centrality measures
- Topic 2: motifs
- Topic 3: community structure

Week 3: Network processes

We will focus on understanding the dynamics of network evolution and processes taking place on networks
- Topic 1: critically and self-organised critically for biologists
- Topic 2: network evolution models
- Topic 3: propagation on networks

Three 2-hour lectures each week
One 2-hour tutorial each week
One 4-hour computer-based practical session each week

The module will be assessed based on 3 graded practicals (30% each) and class participation (10%)

Research Project Planning

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Beth Scott

Pre-requisite(s): Registered for the MRes or MSc Applied Marine and Fisheries.

How to write a literature review; how to plan a project; how to write a research proposal.

There will be one 3 hour session in each of the three weeks where the class meets with the co-ordinator. The other contact time will be arranged with project supervisors within the School.

100% continuous assessment in the form of a literature review and project plan.