Tropical Marine Systems

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 05 October 2017
Wednesday 03 October 2018
26 March 2013


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSC C16112 Tropical Marine Biology,
MMB C160 Marine Biology

Module description

This module provides a thorough grounding in tropical marine systems, including the diversity of organisms that exist and the roles they play as well as the fundamental biological processes that enable these organisms to thrive. Lectures cover the four main tropical habitats Coral Reefs, Tropical Oceans, Seagrass Beds, and Mangrove Systems. Each section is illustrated with suitable case studies and considers long-term monitoring data that highlights the historical and more recent changes in the taxonomic composition and productivity of these systems. This module aims to widen the understanding of some of the key functional roles of photosynthetic producers (corals, algae, cyanobacteria, plants) and heterotrophic consumers (planktonic, benthic and pelagic invertebrates and vertebrates). It will assist with developing the skills necessary to evaluate ecological and biogeochemical processes within tropical marine systems and their productivity, connectivity and resilience. The module will also provide some of the knowledge needed to assess the environmental implications of impacts and stresses at different spatial and temporal scales. Key skills of accessing and interpreting scientific publications will be developed throughout the module to aid the development of individual scientific opinion and thereby facilitate formal and informal scientific discussion within classes.

Learning outcomes
To pass this module students will need to be able to:
1. describe the taxonomic and functional diversity of tropical marine organisms;
2. discuss the effects of physiochemical characteristics and processes on the distribution, abundance and productivity of tropical marine organisms;
3. discuss the role of tropical marine systems in biogeochemical cycles;
4. analyse the effect of historical and recent global change on biological processes;
5. discuss the impact of invasive species on the composition and functioning of tropical marine ecosystems;
6. explain the role of symbiotic relationships within tropical marine food webs;
7. demonstrate an understanding of how to measure primary and secondary productivity in marine habitats;
8. show competence in retrieving relevant information from diverse sources and interpreting scientific data;
9. demonstrate key skills in presenting scientific information in poster format.

Module aims

No information available.

Module learning outcomes

No information available.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

40 x 1 hour lectures


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 Research Review 27/10/2017 30%
Coursework Scientific Poster 14/11/2017 30%
Coursework Scientific Paper Review 28/11/2017 10%
Practical Oral Presentation 09/03/2018 30%

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
0% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Etienne Low-Decarie (EL), Dr Leanne Appleby-Hepburn (LH), Professor Tracy Lawson (TL), Professor David Smith (DJS), Dr Michael Steinke (MS).
School Graduate Office, email: bsgradtaught (Non essex users should add to create a full email address)



External examiner

Prof Charles Sheppard
The University of Warwick
Available via Moodle
Of 50 hours, 47 (94%) hours available to students:
3 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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