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The University of Southampton

SOES2030 Coastal Ecology Field Course

Module Overview

The aims of the module are to: 1. Understand basic ecological principles relating to shore ecology; 2. Use keys to identify fauna and macro algae; 3. Design, plan and implement a research project based on intertidal community ecology; 4. Appreciate sampling strategies in marine biology.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Faunal data-analysis skills, numeracy, statistics and computer skills
  • Written communication / presentation skills
  • Oral and visual presentation skills (poster and seminar)
  • Information retrieval skills (library/web)
  • Report writing
  • Project planning, including experimental design, problem solving, time management
  • Team working


In Pembrokeshire, you will receive: 1. Field course Introduction - including shore safety 2. Overview of invertebrate and macroalgal intertidal ecology in sheltered and exposed shores 3. Practice in identification of common marine macroalgal and invertebrate species using keys 4. Basic biological sampling and statistics 5. Project planning and preparation, from hypothesis generation through to the collection and interpretation of data Themed excursions will focus on: 1. Identification of intertidal rocky shore invertebrates 2. Identification of intertidal sediment-dwelling invertebrates 3. Differences between exposed and sheltered intertidal environments 4. Sampling methodology 5. Project data acquisition (multiple days) As weather permits, we will also explore the bird and seal colonies on Skomer Island.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

A week-long residential field course (for students on Marine Biology programmes only) to Fort Dale in the September preceding Year 2. This will provide a practical introduction to shore ecology, develop skills in species identification, project planning (including skills experimental design, time management) and working within small groups. A wide range of support is available for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

Practical classes and workshops15
Independent Study85
Total study time111

Resources & Reading list

Copies of these texts will be provided at the field course and are available in the library. 

Eds P.J. Hayward and J.S. Ryland (1995). Handbook of the Marine Fauna of North-West Europe. 

R. C. Newell. Biology of Intertidal Animals. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Presentation 20%
Project report 80%
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