The University of Southampton
Courses

SOES6074 Contemporary Topics in Oceanography and Marine Biology

Module Overview

For each topic, the subject lead staff member will provide ‘starting references’ to direct independent study. Where necessary this will include the provision of appropriate pdf versions of key review articles or other papers that are pertinent to the topic. As the module deals with contemporary issues in marine science, it is expected that all independent study will be supported by electronic journal resources. When appropriate the subject lead will provide individual guidance on the direction of study.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This module aims to ensure that students are equipped with the attributes needed to function as professional marine scientists, principally engagement with the peer-reviewed literature, scientific reading and writing skills, critical analysis, and communication skills. The module therefore provides training in scientific writing and the reading of research papers, and oral presentation techniques. The module includes contributions from a variety of academic staff that lead topics in a range of important, and sometimes controversial, contemporary topics at the forefront of marine biology and ocean science. Students will be guided into the key scientific literature on these topics, however learning will be facilitated through independent study and the presentation of conference-style talks. Students will also write critical syntheses of knowledge in the form of a scientific research paper from the peer-reviewed literature. Learning Outcomes At the end of the module students are expected to be able to: 1. Research, analyze and synthesize bodies of knowledge on contemporary topics in marine biology and ocean science research. 2. Critically assess bodies of knowledge on contemporary topics in marine biology and ocean science research 3. Plan, prepare and present oral presentations on the findings of current research in the contemporary, scientific literature. 4. Plan, prepare and write critical syntheses of knowledge on the findings of current research in the contemporary, scientific literature in a format suitable for publication in Nature Reviews, adhering to scientific conventions in terms of structure, style, data presentation and referencing. Key Skills Acquired • Research skills: synthesizing and critically evaluating the peer-review literature. • Communication/ presentation skills: by presenting two seminar-style presentations. • Technical writing skills: by producing two Nature Reviews-style articles. • Up to 63 hours of independent study are expected per topic, in balance with other course commitments. Students will gain personal-transferrable skills in technical writing, time management, scientific communication, self- assessment and peer-review.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Research, analyze and synthesize bodies of knowledge on contemporary topics in marine biology and ocean science research.
  • Critically assess bodies of knowledge on contemporary topics in marine biology and ocean science research
  • Plan, prepare and present oral presentations on the findings of current research in the contemporary, scientific literature.
  • Plan, prepare and write critical syntheses of knowledge on the findings of current research in the contemporary, scientific literature in a format suitable for publication in Nature Reviews, adhering to scientific conventions in terms of structure, style, data presentation and referencing.

Syllabus

You will choose two key topics from a list of options in your specialist area (a reading list of seminal papers for these is provided). You will be required to write a critical review and make a short oral presentation on each of your selected topics at weekly seminars. Much of the learning will be through independent reading. The breadth of subject coverage is intended to broaden and deepen your knowledge of topical issues in your specialist area, as well as to develop scientific writing and presentation skills. To ensure that this module delivers fully on its learning outcomes, all students will be expected to attend all seminar sessions.

Special Features

Key Skills Acquired • Research skills: synthesizing and critically evaluating the peer-review literature. • Communication/ presentation skills: by presenting two seminar-style presentations. • Technical writing skills: by producing two Nature Reviews-style articles. • Up to 63 hours of independent study are expected per topic, in balance with other course commitments. Students will gain personal-transferrable skills in technical writing, time management, scientific communication, self- assessment and peer-review.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Note: Exact contact hours will vary, depending on the size of the module group. Seminars will be led by a variety of staff members with expertise in a range of important contemporary topics. Reading will be guided by staff members, but much of the learning will be through independent reading and study by students who will also give oral presentations at seminar-style classes. The programme will consist of 6 hrs of lecture sessions, designed around providing instruction on delivering seminar/ conference style talks and writing critical review articles. These formal lectures will be followed by 6-10 student-led seminar sessions, lasting between 2-3 hours, depending on the class size. Supplementary material: NOCS Seminar programmes and POETS seminar series. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

TypeHours
Lecture6
Seminar18
Independent Study126
Total study time150

Assessment

Formative

Oral presentation

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Individual Oral Presentation 30%
Individual written report 70%
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