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The University of Southampton

SOES1011 Introduction to Functional Marine Biology

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

1. To introduce students to basic physiological and other principles of functional biology, using marine examples. 2. To introduce students to the adaptations of marine organisms to the main marine habitats. 3. To relate, where appropriate, the functional aspects of an organism's biology to its body described in SOES 1007 Marine Invertebrates. 4. To highlight evolutionary trends in functional characteristics. 5. To teach basic skills in experimental physiology. 6. To introduce students to basic biological statistical methods

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the basic physiological another functional characteristics of marine organisms.
  • Relate the form and function of a marine organism to its habitat,
  • Have an appreciation of the main evolutionary trends that can be found in marine species.
  • Have some knowledge of basic laboratory measurements.
  • To collect practical data, analyse it and write a report.
  • Generic skills: report writing
  • Subject-specific Skills: knowledge of basic functional biology and practical lab skills in manipulation of simple laboratory equipment and the acquisition of raw data, its analysis and presentation of final results


Topics include eco-physiological adaptations to life in extreme environments (polar and deep sea), basic neurophysiology and comparative neurobiology, macroecology of reproduction, growth and development in marine invertebrates including evolutionary patterns and bottlenecks in response to environmental cues and feeding, immunology and parasitology, barobiology and bioemechanics.

Special Features

This module is available to Marine Biologists only

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Formal Lectures: 20 lectures will provide an introduction to the theory underlying the course. Each lecture systematically covers the main concepts and topics by the use of PowerPoint presentations that are also available on Blackboard and hardcopy handouts. Where relevant, lecturers’ own research experience in the appropriate fields is brought into the lecturing sessions. References to relevant textbooks and/or journal articles are provided as essential reading for each lecture via Blackboard. Practical Class (3 x 3 hours): will provide you with an understanding the characteristics of major biological processes and the practicalities of simple biological measurements. Workshop Class (5 x 3 hours): will introduce students to the basics of experimental design, data handling and related statistical methods. Revision Class: The last lecture slot provides an opportunity for students to aim specific questions about the parts of the course not fully understood. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

Practical classes and workshops21
Independent Study95
Total study time140



MethodPercentage contribution
Assessed Practicals 20%
Assessed Practicals 20%
In-class Test 60%
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