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The University of Southampton

SOES2030 Dale Field Marine Biology Fieldwork Skills

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

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 water column sampling strategies in marine biology

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


During Dale: 1. Field course Introduction - including shore safety 2. Revision of Identification of marine phyla 3. Overview of rocky shore ecology and macroalgae 4. Overview of particulate shores 5. Introduction to taxonomy and use of keys 6. Basic biological sampling and statistics 7. Project planning and preparation During Semester 1 students who do not take SOES 2025 as full module will still be required to attend the following lectures: Sounding measurements in the water column (2 lectures) Use of acoustic Doppler sensors. Methods and what can be measured (current structure, zooplankton etc). How 2-D transects of data sections are presented, analysed and interpreted. Physical measurements in the sea (4 lectures) What can be measured - description of the primary sensors for hydrographic measurements (temperature, conductivity, pressure etc) and how they should be deployed. Explanation of how sensor records are converted to useful ocean variables (T, S, depth etc). Current measurements (relate to Section 3). Fluorometry, transmissometry. Platforms for physical measurements: underway sampling and towed platforms; gliders, floats, drifting buoys Presenting physical data, analysis and interpretation. Should cover both locally acquired data (link to fieldwork) and access to databases, ocean atlas etc. Geographic Information Systems (2 lectures) Using GIS Systems for ocean data. Based on coastal and estuarine benthic survey work? Practical Sessions: During Dale: Identification of sheltered rocky shore organisms Identification particulate shore organisms Identification of exposed shore organisms and project planning Project data acquisition day 1 Project data acquisition day 2

Special Features

Provision for special needs will be made on a case by case basis. Where it is not physically possible for a student to undertake fieldwork an alternative course of study and assessment will be provided.

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. There will be opportunity for additional lectures and practicals in semester 1 of year 2 to ensure that the students have sufficient contact hours. NB Students who take this module and who do not take SOES 2025 will be required to attend selected lectures from SOES 2025 to give them sufficient water column sampling skills/background for the Falmouth field course

Practical classes and workshops11
Independent Study81
Total study time115

Resources & Reading list

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
Practical exercise 20%
Project report  (3000 words) 70%
Tutor group exercise 10%
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