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Module OSX-4012:
Practical Oceanography-PO

Module Facts

Run by School of Ocean Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Yueng-Djern Lenn

Overall aims and purpose

This module will give students a practical experience of acquiring oceanographic data from the RV Prince Madog . In addition the students will process, interpret and report on the data acquired:

  • Students will be familiarised with the practical techniques required for tackling a range of problems in oceanography, including remote sensing techniques.
  • Students will be familiarised with the basic skills of numerical modelling.

Course content

Practical experience gained of

  • Offshore data collection: e.g. filtering water samples for suspended particulate matter and chlorophyll.
  • Offshore data processing, data integration (data from ADCP, CTD, transmissometer etc.), report writing and scientific discussion on oceanographic processes
  • Geographical Information System (GIS) software and MatLab

Classroom activities:

  • Short course on GIS, geodesy and positioning
  • Short course on ocean acoustics and remote sensing techniques
  • Short course on numerical modelling

Learning outcomes mapped to assessment criteria


Threshold Grades C- to C+ Performs only the basic processing necessary to display the survey data. Little or no wider interpretation or critical appraisal of the techniques employed. No consideration of the errors associated with the data. Tender document and interview reveals only the barest ideas of how to address the offshore site investigation problem given.


Excellent Grade A- or better Performs all the processing necessary to display the survey data and does so in novel ways. Wide ranging interpretation and thorough critical appraisal of the techniques employed. Consideration of the errors associated with the data and an appreciation of the implications of such errors to the final outcomes of the survey. Tender document and interview reveals thorough competency in terms of addressing the offshore site investigation problem given.

Conduct a range of Oceanographic and Geoscience surveys from the point of acquisition to the reporting stage.

Process and interpret the data sets acquired, via an integrated Geographic Information System

Critically analyse the underpinning acoustic theory and models used for interpretation

Develop computer programs (and/or spreadsheets) to gain experience in developing computer solutions to practical problems

Signal process and interpret acoustic Doppler current data, identifying signals of different frequency and forcing

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Prince Madog Cruise Report 35
GIS Exercise ArcGIS 25
Inundation Modelling 30
Lab Practical Handout 10

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Multiple workshops on acoustic data processing/analyses and numerical modelling


Lectures on Geodesy/Positioning 3 hours. Lectures on GIS 2 hours. Lectures on introduction to ocean acoustics 5 hours. Lectures on oceanographic instrumentation 4 hours. Lectures on remote sensing 4 hours Lectures on Numerical Modelling 10 hours


Fieldwork on Prince Madog 1 day

Private study

Students will read books and peer-review papers to enhance their understanding of the subject matter.


Seminars – external speakers from industry 3 x 1 hour


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting


Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: