Methods in Tropical Marine Biology

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


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSC C16112 Tropical Marine Biology,
MMB C160 Marine Biology

Module description

The UK Natural Environment Research Council recently listed the most wanted Postgraduate and Professional Skills Needs in the Environment Sector. Multi-disciplinarity, Data Management, Numeracy, and Translating Research into Practice were among the top most wanted and cross-disciplinary skills identified. This module aims to widen the skill base in practical research by introducing a range of methodologies to aid in the investigation of tropical marine processes.

The seminars (2 hours each) and practicals (6 hours each) address the most wanted skills and support the material delivered in theory modules by focusing on the components biogeochemistry, physiology, data analysis and visualisation, and biotechnology. Students will acquire many of the fundamental and some specialised practical skills to effectively operate as professional tropical marine biologists.

Module aims

Learning objectives are statements of what a learner is expected to know, understand, and be able to demonstrate after completing the module. By the end of this course you should be able to:
• Count microorganisms using a haemocytometer.
• Explain the basic components used in gas chromatography.
• Employ gas chromatography for the quantification of dimethyl sulphide (DMS).
• Explain how tropical coastal environments contribute to the production of DMS and discuss its effect on climate

Module learning outcomes

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

Biogeochemistry component
Demonstrate competence in data presentation, analysis and interpretation, numeracy, information retrieval and written communication.
Prepare and conduct experiments to quantify the production and consumption of climate-active trace gases.

Physiology Component
Demonstrate an ability to utilise conventional (oxygen electrode) and modern (PAM fluorometry) techniques to measure primary productivity.

Biotechnology Component
Perform the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and analyse and explain several datasets: metagenetic and denaturing gradient gel-electrophoresis profiles of 16S rRNA genes from bacterial communities; and hydrocarbon profiles of degraded and undegraded crude oil.

Geographical Information System (GIS) Component
Use GIS to generate habitat maps.

Employability and Transferable Skills
Communicating scientific information.
Planning and executing teamwork to set deadlines.

Module information

Listen Again:
The School has a policy which ensures all lecturers opt-in to making lectures available via Listen Again. Therefore, in teaching rooms where the facility is available, lectures will be recorded via this service.

Learning and teaching methods

4 x 2 hour seminars, 4 x 6 hour practicals


This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non-essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Scientific Report (Biogeochemistry)  14/11/2019  25% 
Coursework   Scientific Report (Physiology)  16/01/2020  25% 
Coursework   Worksheet Data Analysis and Visualisation   18/02/2020  25% 
Coursework   Worksheet (Biotechnology)  27/02/2020  25% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Michael Steinke, email:
Dr Michael Steinke, Dr Corinne Whitby, Mr James Stevens
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 220 hours, 8 (3.6%) hours available to students:
212 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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