Estuarine and Coastal Ecology Field Module (Assessed in Following Year)

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Tuesday 22 April 2025
Friday 27 June 2025
16 February 2024


Requisites for this module
BS112 or BS251



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

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

This module is linked to BS303. This is a field course assessed in the following year.

Module learning outcomes

No information available.

Module information

This exciting field module is mandatory for marine biologists, but is optional for other biologists.

The field module is an exciting opportunity to discover the estuarine ecosystems that surround our university campus. You will have the opportunity to develop many new field and laboratory skills, while learning about ecosystems that link terrestrial and marine habitats.

Learning and teaching methods

This module is linked to BS303. This is a field course assessed in the following year.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Lab notebook    10% 
Coursework   Worksheet    20% 
Coursework   Report    10% 
Written Exam  MCQ    10% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

100 per cent Coursework Mark


100 per cent Coursework Mark

Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Michael Steinke, email:
Dr Michael Steinke
School Undergraduate Office, email: bsugoffice (Non essex users should add to create the full email address)



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 45 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
45 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


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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