Aims and Objectives
Knowledge and Understanding
Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
- Describe and explain how benthic ecosystems are structured from both physical and biological perspectives, with particular reference to marine sediments as habitats and the classification of seafloor assemblages.
- Describe and explain the customary sampling methods used when surveying different marine benthic habitats and/ or targeting specific marine benthic organisms, in order to be able to design a robust experimental approach.
- Analyse and interpret biological and environmental data from marine benthic habitats using descriptive, univariate and multivariate statistical tests over temporal and spatial scales.
- Discuss and examine the sources and implications of change in marine benthic ecosystems and the approaches used to mitigate change, with particular reference to disturbance and anthropogenic activities, and the ecosystem consequences of biodiversity loss.
- Define and review how benthic ecosystems function and how benthic organisms adapt to, respond to/ and or regulate their environment.
The following subject areas are dealt with during the module:
Introduction to sediment processes and the distribution of marine sediment habitats
Methods of sampling marine benthic habitats and experimental approaches used in marine benthic ecolog
Classification and descriptions of benthic invertebrate communities
Species adaptations to living in cohesive and non-cohesive sediments
Faunal mediation of ecosystem processes, including benthic-pelagic coupling, microbiological processes and invertebrate-microbial interactions and nutrient cycles in marine sediment
Effects of species activity on the sediment profile (Bioturbation and Bioirrigation)
Functional trait ecology
Organism-sediment interactions and concepts of benthic succession
Modifying effects of species and environment interactions on species behaviour and ecosystems functioning
Anthropogenic stressors in the marine benthos
Assessment of habitat quality
Consequences of altered biodiversity for ecosystems functioning
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
Formal lectures: the course deals almost exclusively with the ecology of marine sediments. The formal lectures provide a framework outlining the development of methods for studying the benthos and development of theories that have helped our understanding of benthic processes. Many case study examples are provided. We also include interactive activities, practical demonstrations and discussion in most formal sessions. In addition the formal lecture series includes a computer practical where students receive instruction on how to use the software PRIMER for analysing ecological data. the course is accompanied by online supplementary material.
Informal Class sessions: We will one session at the end of the semester as a feedback and revision sessions. The latter will include opportunities to revisit aspects of the course in more detail and/or to expand on difficult concepts.
A wide range of support is available for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.
|Wider reading or practice||30|
|Preparation for scheduled sessions||12|
|Completion of assessment task||24|
|Total study time||150|
Assessment differs depending on degree pathway
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.