This module examines the patterns of life in deep-sea environments & the processes that govern those patterns.
Aims and Objectives
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- Recognise the physico-chemical factors that influence ecological patterns deep-sea environments
- Understand how physico-chemical factors affect processes in deep-sea faunal assemblages.
- Identify threats to deep-sea ecosystems in the context of impacts of human activities and global change.
- Link a variety of ecological variables with their consequences in deep-sea habitats, including species diversity, biomass and zonation.
- Critically evaluate the latest research in deep-sea ecology.
Knowledge and Understanding
Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
- Knowledge of ecological patterns and processes in the largest biome on Earth.
This module explores the ecological processes that produce the patterns of life in deep-sea environments. The “deep sea” is defined by a water depth greater than 200 metres, which covers most of the surface of our planet. But the “deep sea” is not a single environment: it encompasses a range of habitats, such as soft-sediment abyssal plains, hard-substratum seamounts, and chemosynthetic environments such as hydrothermal vents and cold seeps.
These deep-sea habitats often have distinct environmental conditions and ecological features, but their patterns of life are governed by the same key biological processes and interactions, such as reproduction, dispersal, competition, and resource partitioning. Although only recently accessible to investigation, deep-sea environments therefore offer a rich “natural laboratory” in which we can examine the consequences of fundamental ecological processes in different environmental settings.
The module begins by introducing the technology and analytical tools used to perceive ecological patterns in deep-sea environments, then considers large-scale and small-scale spatial and temporal variation in the ecology of deep-sea environments, and finally examines the processes and interactions that generate those patterns. Students gain experience of analysing real data from ecological surveys of deep-sea environments, including large-scale patterns in diversity and small-scale variation in faunal distribution revealed by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dive transect.
This is a Masters-level marine ecology module, and therefore assumes a basic background in ecology, including familiarity with the application of univariate statistics to investigate ecological patterns. Postgraduate Masters students who do not have that background from their previous degree will need to undertake additional further personal study on that topic to complete the module's assessments.
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
Teaching and learning methods
The course will be delivered using lectures and occasional guest seminars
Formal Lectures: Lectures are systematically placed to provide important background knowledge and will cover the main concepts and topics by the use of PowerPoint presentations. Where relevant, lecturers' own research experience in the appropriate fields is brought into the lecturing sessions. Relevant journal articles are provided as essential reading for each lecture.
Seminar Series: occasional seminars, depending on speaker availability, are delivered by guest speakers to cover topics at the forefront of deep sea ecology.
Tutorial support: All students are encouraged to discuss any aspect of the course with the relevant member of the lecturing staff.
A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.
|Private study hours||120|
|Total study time||150|
Resources & Reading list
Blackboard. The lecture material is summarised at blackboard.soton.ac.uk. Instructions for accessing this material will be given during the course.
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.