Tropical Marine Resources

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 03 October 2019
Friday 26 June 2020
11 September 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSC C16112 Tropical Marine Biology,
MMB C160 Marine Biology

Module description

Tropical marine ecosystems provide important resources locally and globally, and support the livelihoods of more than ½ billion people around the world. Tropical marine resources are threatened by a number of different factors including global environmental change, overexploitation, and environmental degradation caused by coastal development.

Our planet's population is predicted to rise from 7 billion to 9 billion by the year 2050 with major changes expected for coastal societies and this combined with coastal transmigration may lead to doubling of tropical marine resource exploitation over the next 50 years. Over the same time scale many scientists predict that half of the present coral reefs around the world will be irreversibly damaged or lost. The future of coral reefs and connected systems such as mangrove forests and tropical seagrass beds therefore looks bleak and active integrated management is urgently required. Management strategies need to consider the main factors resulting in ecosystem demise from a multidisciplinary standpoint. However protecting food security, access to clean water and sustainable economies are key requirements and illustrate the delicate balancing act between the need for development and conservation.

This module focuses on tropical marine resources with an emphasis on fisheries, mariculture, biotechnology, sustainable management and conservation management. Artisanal practises such as seaweed farming and mangrove harvesting will be considered alongside international industries that consider tropical marine ecosystems as a biotechnological 'treasure chest'. Additionally, the module offers the unique opportunity for students to attend an expedition to explore the biodiversity and ecology of coral reefs and to study and critically examine the process of coral conservation management within the remote Wakatobi Marine National Park in Indonesia (Option A). The Wakatobi is situated within the coral triangle and is at the centre of the most biodiverse marine environment on Earth. This expedition provides opportunities for dive training and research diving activities. The research centre is ideally located amongst local communities with different traditions and coral reef dependency levels. Communication, both formal and informal, with different stakeholders and community representatives will form a key component of the work. Alternatively, students can either choose to attend placement with associated partner organisations or industries to investigate how selected organisations exploit or influence tropical marine resources globally (Option B), or conduct a literature review and presentation on the effects of pollution on tropical marine resources (Option C).

Module aims

This module focuses on tropical marine resources with an emphasis on fisheries, mariculture, biotechnology, sustainable management and conservation management.

Module learning outcomes

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

1. Discuss the diversity and socio-economic value of tropical marine resources
2. Discuss the environmental, social and economic impacts of tropical marine resources and prospects for more sustainable production and harvesting;
3. Discuss biotechnology industries based around tropical marine resources
4. Discuss biotechnological products stemming from marine resources
5. Explain the status and trends in global marine fisheries, with emphasis on tropical marine environments;
6. Demonstrate an appreciation of the differing roles and agendas of stakeholders associated with local and international marine resource development and an understanding of approaches suited to enhanced planning and management;
7. Show competence in applying an established model and interpreting its results
8. Show competence in retrieving relevant information from diverse sources.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Part 1 (Spring Term): 20 x 1 hour Theory Lectures Part 2 (Easter Vacation): Option A: Tropical Marine Conservation & Management Field Course; Option B: Volunteer Placement Programme; Option C: Literature Review & Presentation.


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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   Option A, B or C Assignment    25% 
Coursework   Tropical Marine Biotechnology Popular Science Article    25% 
Coursework   Phylogenetic Analysis    25% 
Practical   Oral Presentation     25% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Boyd McKew, email:
Dr Boyd McKew, Dr Michelle Taylor, Dr Rosa Van Der Ven
School Graduate Office, email: bsgradtaught (Non essex users should add to create a full email address)



External examiner

Dr Nicholas Kamenos
University of Glasgow
Available via Moodle
Of 84 hours, 23 (27.4%) hours available to students:
61 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)

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