The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre SouthamptonPostgraduate study

SOES6051 Reproduction in marine animals

Module Overview

This module will cover all aspects of reproduction in marine invertebrates.

Aims and Objectives


  • To introduce students to the mechanisms by which marine organisms reproduce.
  • To show the different larval types and reproductive patterns.
  • To establish experiments on reproduction.
  • To be able to conduct and deliver a research project.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the module you should be able to:

  1. Describe all aspects of reproduction in marine invertebrates.
  2. Distinguish between modes of reproduction in different taxa.
  3. Solve reproductive data by experimental design and implementation.
  4. Identify different larval types in a wide variety of groups.
  5. Analyse and present experimental data.

Key Skills Acquired

Generic skills: Experimentation and time management; multi-tasking; observation skills.

Subject-specific Skills: knowledge of practical lab skills; systematics, identification of larvae; experimental manipulation; presentation of raw data.


The lectures will include reproductive morphology and histology, oogenesis and spermatogenesis, fertilization kinetics, biodiversity in larval forms and detailed analysis of embryonic and larval development in specific taxa of marine invertebrates. Also studied will be larval physiology and larval behaviours.

The course has a strong practical element including histological techniques, boatwork, experimental work in the laboratory, larval analysis from plankton, spawning and embryonic development. The student will also conduct a special project on an aspect of reproduction.

NB students will be expected to work with live animals.

Special Features

This module may be available to students on both the final year of four-year undergraduate programmes, and to postgraduate taught master's programmes.

Learning and Teaching

Study time allocation

Contact hours:86
Private study hours:64
Total study time: 150 hours

Teaching and learning methods

Formal Lectures: 10 double lectures and 6 practicals will provide an introduction to the theory underlying all aspects of reproduction. Each lecture systematically covers the main concepts and topics by the use of PowerPoint presentations. The third week is for research projects and presentation of results. Where relevant, lecturers’ own research experience in the appropriate fields is brought into the lecturing sessions. References to the applicable chapter of course text and/or other relevant journal articles are provided as essential reading for each lecture.

Practical sessions: exemplify the theory covered during formal lectures allowing you to develop particular skills of relevance to all aspects of reproductive biology and a range of related experimental techniques in the lab.

A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

Resources and reading list

The lecture material is summarised at Instructions for accessing this material will be given during the course.


Assessment methods

Scientific paper (80%): In the Marine Biology format, based on the individual project. Tests project proposal, experimental design, and analyses of project work within the overall course learning outcomes. Tests Learning Outcomes 1-5.

Presentation (20%): A 10 minute oral presentation on research project. Tests Learning Outcomes 1, 3, 5.

Linked modules

Pre-requisites and / or co-requisites

Undergraduate: SOES1007 and SOES2011
Postgraduate: Biology/Zoology degree.

Note: Places on this module are limited to 26 and priority will be given to the MSci Marine Biology programme.


Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Printing and copyingThe University printing costs are currently: A4 - 5p per side (black and white) or 25p per side (colour) A3 - 10p per side (black and white) or 50p per side (colour). Please Note: Paper sizes not recognised by the printing devices will prompt you to select the size and then charge a minimum of 50p per black and white copy and a maximum of £1 per colour copy. You can pay for your printing by using the money loaders or by using print copy payment service by going to Please remember that we are unable to refund any credit that has not been used by the end of your course, so please consider this when topping up your printing/copy account. The University Print Centre also offer a printing and copying service as well as a dissertation/binding service. Current printing and copying costs can be found here. They also provide a large format printing service, e.g. Academic posters. £0.05-1.00

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

FieldworkAccommodation: For compulsory residential field courses accommodation and travel are normally provided. You are usually expected to cover the costs of food and drink, although some courses may include meals. For optional field courses, you may be asked to make a contribution to the travel and/or accommodation costs.
FieldworkInsurances: Although travel insurance is covered by the University high risk items for example laptops and mobile phones will require separate personal insurance.
FieldworkTravel: For compulsory residential field courses accommodation and travel are normally provided. You are usually expected to cover the costs of food and drink, although some courses may include meals. For optional field courses, you may be asked to make a contribution to the travel and/or accommodation costs.
StationeryA ruler; a pair of compasses; set squares; protractor; pencils (including coloured); eraser; calculator, penknife.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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