BS303-6-SU-CO:
Estuarine and Coastal Ecology Field Module

The details
2019/20
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Summer
Undergraduate: Level 6
Current
Monday 20 April 2020
Friday 26 June 2020
15
10 January 2020

 

Requisites for this module
BS112 or BS251
(none)
(none)
(none)

 

(none)

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),
MMB C160 Marine Biology

Module description

This module concentrates on the relationship between biological diversity, and aspects of water chemistry and habitat structure in different coastal environments situated along an estuarine gradient. We will be using the Colne / Blackwater estuary complex as our field site.

You will gain experience in the identification of a wide variety of animals and plants along the estuarine salinity and nutrient gradient, from the head of the estuary at Colchester to the open sea coast, and in associated coastal habitats including freshwater grazing marshes, salt marshes and borrow dykes. You will also receive training and practice in standard laboratory techniques, for example, measuring chlorophyll a and phosphate concentrations, and measurement of sediment properties.

This module builds on 2nd year theory modules in Marine Biodiversity, Microbial Diversity & Biotechnology, and Ecological Monitoring & Assessment, and links to 2nd year practicals on Estuarine Benthic Communities and Diversity in Amphipods. It will also provide a background for the 3rd year module on Coastal Ecology.

The five day module will be intensive, with long hours to accommodate periods of tidal emersion and immersion. All the work done on the module is assessed, with assessments having to be submitted at two stages. The marks count towards your overall third year mark.

The module is structured to assess the important environmental variables in estuarine ecology, to gain experience in different sampling protocols, and practice fieldwork skills. In interpreting the data and completing the assignments, you should draw upon your existing knowledge of estuarine and marine systems, sampling strategies, and ecological theory obtained during the second year theory modules and practicals.

Further details of this module will be given out at a short meeting early in the summer term. You must attend this meeting.

Module aims

By the end of this course you should be able to:

1. Describe the different scales of variation present within an estuarine environment.
2. Implement safety guidance for sampling soft-sediment coastal environments.
3. Demonstrate the principles of spectrophotometric methods for dissolved nutrient analysis.
4. Quantify sediment water content, ash-free dry-weight (AFDW) and extract pore water.
5. Test inorganic nutrient limitation of primary productivity in water samples
6. Demonstrate identification skills for estuarine flora and fauna, and be able to use scientific keys to identify them.
7. Record data in laboratory books to permit quality audits and accurate retrieval of information.
8. Present data in a suitable graphical form to allow interpretation.
9. Analyse a large data set using suitable statistical tests.
10. Interpret your findings in the context of other texts and literature.
11. Design a field survey programme for work in an estuarine environment.
12. Gather and interpret information from local stakeholders
13. Summarize and present graphically predicted environmental impacts of a project

Module learning outcomes

To pass this module, students will need to be able to:

1. Describe the major gradients in physical, chemical and biological variables in coastal and estuarine environments.
2. Describe the main biological communities associated with estuarine environments.
3. Describe some of the legal context for the exploitation and protection of estuarine and coastal environments.
4. Demonstrate some of the practical skills necessary to investigate estuarine and coastal environments.
5. Demonstrate competence in data presentation, analysis and interpretation, numeracy, information retrieval and written communication.
6. Place this knowledge in the broader context related to anthropogenic use and management of estuaries and soft-shore coastlines by stakeholders, including environmental impacts of activities.

Module information

The course is structured to assess the important environmental variables in estuarine ecology, to gain experience in different sampling protocols, and practice fieldwork skills, and to place biological knowledge in the context of human use of ecosystems. In interpreting the data and completing the assignments, you should draw upon your existing knowledge of estuarine and marine systems, sampling strategies, and ecological theory obtained during the second year theory courses and practicals.

Learning and teaching methods

The five-day course will be intensive, with long hours to accommodate periods of tidal emersion and immersion. All the work done on the course is assessed, with assessments having to be submitted at four stages. The marks count towards your overall third year mark.

Bibliography

This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Worksheet    20% 
Coursework   SPF    60% 
Coursework   MCQ    10% 
Coursework   Lab Notebook    10% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Natalie Hicks, email: natalie.hicks@essex.ac.uk.
TBC
School Undergraduate Office, email: bsugoffice (Non essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create the full email address)

 

Availability
No
No
No

External examiner

Dr Nicholas Kamenos
University of Glasgow
Reader
Resources
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.

 

Further information
Life Sciences (School of)

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.