Marine Biodiversity

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 07 October 2021
Friday 17 December 2021
21 May 2021


Requisites for this module


BS303, BS417

Key module for

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

This module will introduce some key topics in marine biodiversity including methods of assessing marine biodiversity, distribution of species in space and time, maintenance of marine biodiversity, and regulation of populations.

The module also introduces key marine taxa. Selected examples will focus on adaptations in planktonic organisms, biodiversity hot-spots such as coral reefs and explore disturbance and succession. The self learning component investigates the utility of nucleotide databases for reference RNA and environmental metagenomes in biodiversity research. Two practicals will examine the biodiversity in muddy and sandy shores, and the morphological and genetic diversity in marine amphipods.

Module aims

The aim of this module is to introduce key topics in marine biodiversity

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

1. describe the key methods in assessing marine biodiversity
2. explain the patterns of diversity in marine systems, considering gradients of diversity on global scales, with depth in the oceans and through evolutionary time;
3. explain the mechanisms that generate and maintain patterns of diversity
4. show competence in retrieving relevant information from diverse sources, interpreting scientific data and demonstrate ability to organize and execute a self-learning task;
5. plan, write and give clear, effective, well timed oral presentations;
6. demonstrate competence in written communication and information retrieval;
7. demonstrate competence in data presentation, analysis and interpretation, numeracy, information retrieval and written communication.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

20 x 1 hour lectures (including 1 on directed learning material and 1 or more covering DAI material), plus 1 revision class before summer exam. There will be a total of 2 practicals: the first will run over two days (4 + 3 hours), the second is scheduled to run for 3 hours.


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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   Prac 1 - SPF Results     60% 
Coursework   Prac 2 - Worksheet   03/12/2021  40% 
Exam  150 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Boyd McKew, email:
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 799 hours, 20 (2.5%) hours available to students:
779 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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