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The University of Southampton

SOES6052 Tropical Marine Biology Field Course

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Show an increased understanding of tropical working environment, safety issues beyond those normally encountered in UK;
  • Evidence independent research working skills and group working skills;
  • Evidence data manipulation skills alongside statistical skills;
  • Evidence survey expertise, including snorkelling or possibly SCUBA diving (as appropriate) expertise;
  • Evidence the development of recording activities as well as data collection and analysis via a log book;
  • Show development of existing scientific writing skills and data visualisation.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Evidence travelling to non-European destination, understanding of non EU country entry requirements and travelling logistics;
  • Evidence learning to work in an unfamiliar situation;
  • Understand need for prior planning with respect to inoculations and equipment availability,
  • Be able to work effectively in a small group,
  • Be able to work independently,
  • Demonstrate improvement in writing skills,
  • Demonstrate improvement using spreadsheets, data visualisation software and statistical packages for data analysis.
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of major aspects of Tropical Marine Biology and evolution as appropriate.
  • Identify a range of tropical marine plants and animals and map their habitat.
  • Undertake safe, independent research in a tropical environment.
  • Understand and have experience of specialist marine survey techniques and specialist software.
  • Understand how to prepare and deliver a logbook.
  • Understand how to prepare and deliver a report at the year 4 MSci level.


The course will provide a thorough grounding in tropical marine biology and associated fieldwork. Fieldwork will be based on extensive snorkelling surveys of coral, seagrass/algae and mangrove habitats so ensuring that there is first hand experience of seeing a variety of animals and plants in their native environment.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This is an intensive fieldcourse course of around 2 weeks duration (exact length depends on destination and logistics). Formal Lectures: will provide an appropriate grounding in elements of tropical biology. Practical sessions, group learning: will be supported by extensive fieldwork that will include snorkelling (possibly SCUBA diving) surveys and most likely boat work. Informal field based tutorials: advice and support will be available from staff and the field laboratory. One to one research training in the field: advice and support will be available to help students plan and execute survey work. Individual learning with staff: advice and support available for presentation and report preparation.

Independent Study27
Total study time150


Assessment Strategy

Practical Report (60%): A specific aspect of the survey work will be written-up. The report will summarise data collection and analytical methods, discuss the outcomes of the analysis and propose follow-on work prompted by the survey. Tests learning outcomes 1, 3, 4 & 6. Logbook (40%): A hand written logbook detailing scientific activities, data collection/analysis and results together with species notes and descriptions which will be created over the duration of the entire fieldcourse . Tests learning outcomes 2, 3 & 5. This will provide experience of creating an individual logbook focused on survey activity and results, something that MSci students haven't developed within their degree until now. This will be of value in their final year independent research project. Re-assessment Method Essay (10 A4 page, using report formatting) on tropical ecology.


MethodPercentage contribution
Logbook  (5 minutes) 50%
Practical Report 50%


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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