This module builds on second year theory modules in Marine Biodiversity, Microbial Diversity & Biotechnology, and Ecological Monitoring & Assessment, and links to second year practicals on Estuarine Benthic Communities and Diversity in Amphipods. It will also provide a background for the third year module on Coastal Ecology.
This module 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.
Students 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.
Further details of this module will be given out at a short meeting early in the summer term. You must attend this meeting.