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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 beach and 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). 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

Module Aims

• To teach the principles of field survey design. • To develop the student’s data analysis skills. • To introduce and use multivariate statistical software • To understand and experience the challenges particular to field-based data collection in a shallow water marine environment.

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 Minitab/Sigmaplot and statistical packages such as PRIMER to analyse and present statistical analyses.
  • Present the outcomes of your work in an oral presentation and a written report


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

• Formal lectures will provide the survey design and data analysis framework that will form the focus of the course. • “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. • 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
Practical classes and workshops10
Independent Study85
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Data Analysis 30%
Report  (4000 words) 70%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (5000 words) 100%
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