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The University of Southampton

SOES3051 Shallow Water Survey Techniques

Module Overview

Biologists are often required to provide quantitative analyses of field data typically collected under imperfectly controlled conditions and across heterogeneous habitats. This module will develop generic skills in (1) the design of data collection protocols, particularly for shallow water marine environments and (2) the testing of hypotheses with appropriate statistical techniques. The course will develop an understanding of the core principles of survey design and data analysis that underpin all quantitative sampling methods. The fieldwork component will develop the student's skills in shallow water biological survey using a range of methods best suited to the environment being surveyed, ranging from transect surveys, photoquadrats, drop-down video, benthic sledge and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to CTDs and fluorimeters. Data developed from the survey will be analysed with appropriate visualisation software and both univariate (building on previous statistical course) and multivariate statistical software.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Choose, design and carry out a practical, pragmatic and effective field survey that collects quantified data suitable for statistical analysis to test a hypothesis.
  • Identify statistical procedures appropriate to different types of data.
  • Work confidently in Excel/Sigmaplot and statistical packages such as PRIMER to analyse and present statistical analyses.
  • Present the outcomes of your work in a preliminary oral presentation outlining the expected direction of the final report.
  • A final report providing full details of data collection analysis and conclusions.


The course will start by introducing principles of marine survey design. Various types of survey techniques suitable for shallow marine survey that provide quantified data will be covered along with appropriate statistical analysis. Students will then put the theory into practice by undertaking field survey(s). Students will gain experience of using appropriate statistical software packages for data analysis and develop both presentation and writing skills.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

1. Formal lectures will provide the survey design and data analysis framework that will form the focus of the course. 2. 'Hands on' planning and running of surveys will provide real world experience of the realities of developing quantified data in a shallow water marine environment in the UK. 3. Post survey day debrief will allow students' time for reflection and learning from experience which will be incorporated into the planning of the following day's fieldwork.

Supervised time in studio/workshop30
Independent Study85
Practical classes and workshops10
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Presentation 30%
Report 70%


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


There are no additional costs associated with this module.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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