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The University of Southampton

SOES3018 Applied Oceanography and Fieldwork

Module Overview

The module consists of the main Oceanography undergraduate fieldcourse which takes place at the end of Semester 2 (late June to early July) following the exam period plus some work on report writing and data presentation in Semester 1 of the following academic year.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Plan an oceanographic survey of an estuary or area of coastal sea.
  • Fieldwork planning skills and logistics.
  • Presentation of results and analysis (poster/web, oral and written).
  • Working to strict deadlines within the fieldwork logistics and Semester 1 reporting.
  • Collect and analyse data in such a fashion as to understand the environmental processes operating within the system and understand some of the interactions between them.
  • Work effectively within a group either as leader or member of that group.
  • Produce an effective webpage design to communicate scientific method, analysis and discussion.
  • Give a short oral presentation, supported by visual aids, to outline scientific method, analysis and results.
  • Write a concise scientific report, describing data analysis and results and comparing them with published material.
  • Working at sea in a range of boat types and sizes and using a wide range of oceanographic field equipment. Data acquisition from a range of instrumentation and laboratory techniques.
  • Data analysis using generalised and specialist software.
  • Ability to work within a group, both as leader and member.


During the 10-day fieldcourse, located in Falmouth, you will get at least four days sea time working from a variety of boats collecting samples and data that describe the marine chemistry, physics and biology of the estuarine and coastal environment around Falmouth. Each group will work from the top of the estuary to about 15 miles offshore during the fieldcourse. By the end of the course a dataset will exist describing the water-column characteristics for 7-10 days. Each of the undergraduate groups will work with their tutor and other staff to plan and execute each fieldwork day and subsequent sample and data analysis days. Learning to work within a group, taking a variety of roles and planning your activities within time and facility restrictions are all important skills that you will gain during the course. Lectures given during the course will assist you and your group in producing a clear and informative group logbook and data CD-ROM (assessed), a web-based report of your group data and their analysis. A group presentation outlining your results in which all students will present a section of the work (assessed) will take place in week 3 of Semester 1 of the following academic year. An individual holistic report (six pages), describing the estuarine and coastal marine 'system' around Falmouth will be handed in by the end of week 4 Semester 1 of the following academic year (assessed).

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

In Falmouth Fieldcourse: A 10-day field course based at Falmouth, working in the estuary and up to 12 miles offshore. You will work from a variety of vessels from the top of the Falmouth estuary to 30km offshore. Laboratory Sessions: To complement the field sampling, lab sessions will work up the samples taken and analyse the data. Within this framework of scientific activity groups will have to develop and build teamwork skills, delegate and organise within the group, and to manage time in an effective and constructive way if all the tasks are to be completed. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs. Formal Lectures: Seven lectures will provide support for group working and time management skills, web page design and presentation skills (PowerPoint), and data analysis. In Southampton Formal Lectures: A careers lecture on postgraduate study and research. Data analysis sessions: 3 lectures, 2 hours sessions to guide students in data analysis as they prepare reports and presentations. Presentations: In week 3 of Semester 1 a group presentation. Additional support can be provided for those students who have further or specific needs.

Independent Study50
Practical classes and workshops6
Total study time150


Assessment Strategy

Logbook, a working document to show the details of where and when the group did what and who did it, and dataset on server. Considered as part of the group mark and collected at the end of the fieldcourse. Tests Learning Outcomes 1,2,3 Webpage (15%): A group mark which contains the equivalent of two A4 pages of information per boatwork summarizing the main results the group achieved. To be left on the server at the end of the field course Tests Learning Outcomes 1,2,3,4 Group (5%) and individual (10%) presentation: To show the other groups what your main results were during Falmouth. Strongly recommended that this is developed at the same time as your webpage, during the fieldcourse. Delivered in week 4 of Semester 1. Tests Learning Outcomes 1,2,3,5 Individual report (70%): Written on one of the three holistic themes using data from any/all groups as well as published literature. 3000 word limit, 12 point font, 2.5cm margins all around, single spaced. This is the culmination of your personal synthesis of the datasets and will reflect your own ability to think holistically about the estuarine/coastal system Learning Outcomes 1,2,6




MethodPercentage contribution
Group and individual presentation 15%
Individual report  (3000 words) 70%
Webpage 15%
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