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The University of Southampton

BIOL6088 MRes Evolution: From the Galapagos to the 21st Century 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

Module Aims

To provide you with an opportunity for original and independent research, which may involve both practical and theoretical component. To develop a research project in sufficient depth to produce a piece of work which is publishable in the refereed scientific literature. To develop your skills in scientific computing, critical analysis of scientific literature, teamwork, time management, and written and oral presentation.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identity novel research areas.
  • Critically review the literature in an area of science that is new to you.
  • Analyse and interpret new scientific results.
  • Assess the wider significance of these results, including any commercial applications.
  • Plan and complete a research project within a fixed time period.
  • Produce a thorough but concise scientific report.


In semester 1 you will attend small group tutorials, which will cover research skills including: science communication – posters, seminars, scientific papers; critical evaluation; employability skills; online presence, including blogs and social media; grant applications. In semester 2, you will write a detailed research proposal, reviewing the field and defining your project within it, for submission at the beginning of February; example proposals in a variety of fields will be available for guidance. The research project will then run from February to September. The project will be linked to Evolutionary biology Research, 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 that are publishable in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

Special Features

This module provides you with the unique experience of undertaking your research project with researchers across the university asking evolutionary questions. Different areas of research can be chosen, but any individual researcher can only accommodate 1 or 2 students. Students should have some idea of what area of research they want to study before starting MRes Evolution: from Galapagos to the 21st Century, and a project supervisor will be assigned on that basis. Data collection for research projects may take place in Academic Units across the UoS, or at an identified affiliated institution. Particular needs will be catered for when students choose their project, including site accessibility. Students will choose their preferred project location upon application to aid in programme structure for the period of study. Following interview, students will be allocated to a project, taking into account their preferred topic and particular requirements of each student.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Study time allocation [Contact time includes: Lectures, seminars, tutorials, project supervision, demonstration, practicals/workshops/fieldwork/external visits/work based learning] Contact time: 12 hours of small group tutorials in semester 1; regular meetings with project supervisors throughout the year (88). Private study hours: 1100 (this includes: writing the research proposal, data collection and analysing, writing the report) Total study time: 1200

Project supervision88
Independent Study1100
Total study time1200



MethodPercentage contribution
Oral presentation 10%
Project 80%
Research proposal 10%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


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:

Field Trips

The price of this module will be incorporated into the tuition fee for the MRes Evolution: from the Galapagos to the 21st Century programme, with all costs associated with a student’s chosen research project being included. Students who undertake research abroad will have to pay for their travel to a UK airport (travel and accommodation in the country of data collection is included in tuition fees).

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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