Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

SOES3054 Marine Conservation and Policy

Module Overview

This module is only open to Year 3 students registered on MSci Biology and Marine Biology, BSc Biology and Marine Biology, BSc Marine Biology with Oceanography, MSci Marine Biology and Oceanography, MSci Marine Biology and BSc Marine Biology degrees. MSc Oceanography, MRes Ocean Sciences or MSci students who took a Semester Abroad can take the Level 6 dual-coded option. This module will cover a range of issues surrounding marine conservation and policy, split into three sections We will initially focus on the causes and consequences of the current biodiversity concerns, and concentrate on the socio-economic aspects and monitoring of marine exploitation, tracking of animal products and illegal trade.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

1) To gain an understanding of the current global biodiversity crisis, the socio-economic and ecological value of biodiversity and the main drivers affecting it. 2) To appreciate the wide range of monitoring tools and research techniques used to quantify, track and police the demand on marine biodiversity and associated products. 3) To comprehend the policy and legislative basis for biodiversity conservation in the UK and overseas and the organisations that administer these. 4) To develop the skills required to effectively communicate research findings with managers and decision makers.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • To summarise the main issues affecting global biodiversity and its socio-economic value.
  • To explain the main techniques and their effectiveness involved in biodiversity monitoring and tracking.
  • To describe contemporary UK and international conservation issues and have an understanding of the development of both conservation policy and biodiversity policies.
  • To describe and apply population models for projections of biodiversity futures to improve conservation outcomes.
  • To understand and discuss potential conflicts of interest in management approaches between people, species and habitats.
  • To lead and discuss on a marine conservation related topic.
  • To develop, write and present a policy brief to inform non-specialists on research that may be important for the development of UK marine conservation strategies and policies.


The module will concentration on key biodiversity issues and will contribute to an understanding of the scientific processes which underpinning conservation and management, focussing in particular on marine biodiversity, threats to biodiversity and how it can be preserved. The module will include discussions on the socio-economic facets of marine exploitation, including national and international legislative frameworks associated with marine exploitation, management and conservation. Students will assess how marine biodiversity is threatened by e.g. habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, invasive species, over-exploitation, and pollution and will develop a policy brief to communicate recent research findings to inform conservation and management strategies. Research led examples, presentations from guest speakers e.g. local conservation trusts and the Southern IFCA will provide a wide breadth of perspectives, allowing discussion and debate on issues surrounding conservation, human use of habitats and exploitation of marine resources.

Special Features


Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The overarching goal is to provide the students with an interactive and hands-on experience of the central issues surrounding biodiversity conservation, management and policy development. Lectures/Workshops: A series of core lectures will introduce and analyse the central aspects of marine biodiversity conservation, the importance of population models for predicting and improving conservation outcomes and will investigate and discuss the main techniques and their effectiveness involved in biodiversity monitoring and tracking, including issues surrounding illegal wildlife trade, harvesting and invasive species. Finally, we will discuss the socio-economic trade-offs and potential conflicts between conservation, habitat use and exploitation of marine resources. Case Studies: Research-centred topics of relevant interest will be covered by seminars and presentations given by guest speakers discussing their topical research carried out in Southampton and from local conservation trusts and authorities. Practical sessions 1) Communicating science to decision makers and managers I: developing a policy brief 2) Projecting population futures: use of population models for predicting conservation outcomes 3) Communicating science to decision makers and managers II: presentation of policy brief, implications for conservation and management Fieldtrips 1) Studland: MPA under development - management and policy issues 2) Poole Harbour: fisheries management and conservation designations

Independent Study110
Practical classes and workshops6
Total study time150



Lectures and Seminars


MethodPercentage contribution
MCQ-applied knowledge assessment 30%
Policy brief 55%
Seminar 15%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.