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The University of Southampton

GEOG2039 Concepts and Methods for Environmental Management

Module Overview

The module takes a problem-based approach in which students are exposed to a real world environmental management challenge and are taught the skills necessary to understand and quantify the key physical parts of the landscape system that contribute to the problem. The module will teach students a range of desk-based and laboratory skills built around the sedimentation of Poole Harbour. Key stakeholders will help students frame the management challenge, whilst academics and technicians will provide frameworks and technical skills necessary to build a conceptual model of the critical factors influencing sedimentation of the harbour. The choice of site demands an understanding of the connected nature of sediment systems; including fluvial, aeolian, coastal and estuarine. The students will have the opportunity to apply Remote Sensing and laboratory analyses within a conceptual modelling framework centred on quantifying the contributions from the different process domains affecting sedimentation of the harbour. Using this conceptual model student will form initial management relevant recommendations. Pre-requisite for GEOG3011

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Become acquainted with a range of key conceptual and analytical techniques for monitoring the biophysical environment, e.g. historical change assessment, sediment characterisation, conceptual models, long-term data.
  • Appreciate the role of temporal and spatial change in structuring the contemporary environment.
  • Understand how processes operating at different spatial and temporal scales are linked and how they can be studied in an integrated investigation.
  • Develop an understanding of the relationship between natural and anthropogenic changes in shaping physical environments.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Link the collection of data with specific questions and problems to be answered.
  • Be able to use measurements and observations to address specific questions and structure the material into a reasoned argument.
  • Understand the various types and sources of uncertainty in an integrated study, and be able to analyse their effect on its conclusions.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Learn to produce structured and coherent reports based on primary data.
  • Learn to present complex information.
  • Become familiar with a range of computational skills and software packages including drawing packages and spreadsheets.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use remote sensing, mapping and air-photo data to produce maps using appropriate software.
  • Become familiar with basic forms of data collation, data manipulation and modelling.


The module will build of principles taught in GEOG1002, and combine theory and practical analysis of data to: • quantify and characterise changes in landscape scale properties • characterise individual process domains (e.g. coastal, fluvial, aeolian) • review existing documentation and define the key environmental management issues. Students will also undertake the following practical elements: • Develop a conceptual sediment budget model of a coupled landscape system (Poole Harbour). • Assess outputs quantitatively and using high quality maps and figures. • Establish the relative magnitude of past catchment management. • Synthesize and present evidence of key processes underpinning a contemporary environmental management problem.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will consist of lecture based theory supported by field, laboratory and desk based practical classes. The material will be delivered so that a preceding lecture covers the material relevant to the next practical, ensuring that students are practising what they are hearing in the lecture room. Field classes will (tbc) involve discussion with stakeholders (e.g. Wessex Water/Poole Harbour Commission) regarding the environmental management issues associated with Poole Harbour, and will also introduce the students to the differing environments of the Poole Harbour catchment and estuary. Learning will be supported by feedback on summative assessments throughout the module (e.g. practical worksheets). PGR demonstrators will offer practical assistance and advice during the practical classes and additional small group meetings with academics will be incorporated within these sessions as required to support group presentations.

Independent Study112
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Individual Poster 30%
Individual report  (3000 words) 70%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: GEOG1002 or GEOG1001

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