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The University of Southampton

BIOL6051 MRes Wildlife Conservation Research Project

Module Overview

This module provides two-thirds of the content for the MRes Wildlife Conservation programme. During it you will develop research skills, as you work closely with a Marwell Conservation Biologist and University of Southampton supervisor to propose a detailed methodology for your research project. You will then have the unique experience of undertaking that extensive research project at one of Marwell Wildlife’s conservation sites, in the UK or abroad. During this process you will have the opportunity to become part of an existing and dynamic team of practicing conservation biologists.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • A wide selection of topics currently at the frontiers of wildlife conservation research and many of the specialist techniques used to investigate them.
  • Analytical skills to a level sufficient to understand the principles of statistical modelling.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Evaluate and apply subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts and principles in the context of research.
  • Critically analyse, synthesise, interpret and summarise complex scientific information.
  • Application of methodology to collect, record and analyse data.
  • Synthesise and integrate relevant scientific literature.
  • Undertake field investigations in a responsible and safe manner, paying due attention to risk assessment, ethical approval, rights of access, relevant health and safety regulations, and sensitivity to the impact of investigations on the environment and stakeholders.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Synthesise, apply and develop computing, statistical and mathematical skills.
  • Design, implement and report on scientific research projects, including a major research project at the forefront of wildlife conservation knowledge.
  • Critical use of a range of resources as a source of information, means of communication and data dissemination.
  • Be able to design and manage a research project.
  • Develop an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work, this is particularly relevant to field work


This module begins in semester 2, with four formative small group tutorials, during which you will develop a log frame research proposal for your project. This will be discussed with your project supervisors. Following approval of your risk assessment (and ethical approval, if required) data collection for your project will then begin. The project will be linked to on-going conservation science at Marwell Wildlife, and may involve the acquisition of new data, the analysis of existing data in a novel way, or the development and testing of a new method. The project is expected to lead to results which are publishable in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, and outcomes which have a material effect on applied conservation work. You will submit a project report, in the style of a peer-reviewed paper. You will also present your research and undertake a viva voce exam with your internal examiners.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Contact time: 4 hours of small group tutorials; regular meetings with project supervisors from Marwell Wildlife and School of Biological Sciences throughout the project (24). Private study hours: 1172 (this includes: writing the research proposal, data collection and analysing, writing the report) Total study time: 1200 hours

Project supervision24
Independent Study1172
Total study time1200

Resources & Reading list

Biggam, J. Succeeding with your Master’s dissertation a step-by-step handbook. 

Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Schimel, J. Writing science: how to write papers that get cited and proposals that get funded. 

Ruxton, G.D. & Colegrave, N. Experimental design for the life sciences. 

Bond, A. Your Master’s thesis. 

Academic Skills.



MethodPercentage contribution
Oral assessment and presentation 10%
Research project Report  (7000 words) 80%
Research proposal  ( words) 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Research project Report  ( words) 100%


Costs associated with this module

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:

Anything else not covered elsewhere

Research project costs, including travel to Marwell zoo, are not included in course fees. Research project briefs, available on the programme website, include indicative costs for each project available

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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