Marine Ecology

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 07 October 2021
Friday 17 December 2021
30 April 2021


Requisites for this module


BS257, BS303, BS417

Key module for

BSC C100 Biological Sciences,
BSC C101 Biological Sciences (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C102 Biological Sciences (Including Placement Year),
BSC CD00 Biological Sciences (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C161 Marine Biology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C164 Marine Biology,
BSC CC60 Marine Biology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC CC64 Marine Biology (Including Placement Year),
MSCIB097 Tropical Marine Biology,
MSCIBA97 Tropical Marine Biology (Including Placement Year),
MSCIBB97 Tropical Marine Biology (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

The marine realm covers 70% of the Earth`s surface. It contains ice-covered seas and hydrothermal vents, muddy estuaries, deep ocean trenches and the clear blue open sea. The oceans and seas are also integral to the whole earth-ocean-atmosphere system, which controls the climate and conditions for life on Earth. The living, physical and chemical parts of the Earth all interact and influence one another, so that it is impossible to consider one aspect without thinking of the others.

This module describes the different marine environments, the organisms that inhabit them and their ecological interactions, and the physical and chemical conditions that determine the diversity of marine life. It also discusses how human activity is influencing marine ecosystems, through overfishing, pollution, and climate change.

Module aims

The aim of this module is to help you understand and describe the different marine environments, the organisms that inhabit them and their ecological interactions.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. describe the major types of marine communities, the major types of organisms that inhabit these communities and the roles that these organisms play in the marine environment;

2. demonstrate an understanding of the physical and chemical characteristics and processes within the marine environment;

3. describe the effects of these physical characteristics and processes on the distribution, abundance and productivity of marine organisms;

4. describe key biogeochemical cycling and their importance in the environment;

5. describe how human activities are affecting the marine environment, both directly and indirectly;

6. demonstrate understanding of key scientific measurement concepts and carry out, analyse and present competently basic aquatic physical, chemical, biological measurements and observations.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures (24 x 1 hour lectures including 1 on directed learning material plus 1 revision class before MCQ and 1 revision class before summer exam; 4 x 3 hour practicals or equivalent)


  • Castro, Peter; Huber, Michael E. (2018) Marine biology, New York: McGraw-Hill.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Practical 1      
Coursework   Practical 3 (Part B and Part C)      
Exam  65 minutes during January (Multiple Choice) 
Exam  120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
33% 67%


Coursework Exam
33% 67%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Michelle Taylor, email:
Dr Michelle Taylor, Dr Michael Steinke, Dr Rob Ferguson and Dr Leanne Hepburn
School Undergraduate Office, email: bsugoffice (Non essex users should add to create the full email address)



External examiner

Dr Nicholas Kamenos
University of Glasgow
Available via Moodle
Of 165 hours, 24 (14.5%) hours available to students:
141 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Life Sciences (School of)

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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