Module OSX-2003:
Marine Biology Practical II

Module Facts

Run by School of Ocean Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr James Waggitt

Overall aims and purpose

Students undertaking this module will build upon their experiences gained during the first year (module OSX1002) and continue to develop skills in the identification of a wide range of marine invertebrates and vertebrates through laboratory and field-based practicals. The laboratory-based practicals will strengthen and broaden the students knowledge of a range of marine organisms including macro-algae, plankton, invertebrates and vertebrates. Students will furhter they knowledge about statistical methods. Field work will be conducted in salt marsh (shell island), to study zonation and in ashore of Anglesey to quantify patterns of abundance of seabirds. Students will experience a day at sea on the RV Prince Madog where they will collect data relating to fish and other organisms and this material will be investigated in detail in subsequent practicals.

Course content

Invertebrate feeding strategies I (bivalves, gastropods) Invertebrate feeding strategies II (polychaetes) Field trip to salt marsh Fishing surveys Crustacean morphology. Shore crab Carcinus maenas Repeatability in behaviour in hermit crabs Echinoderm dissection, movement and feeding mechanisms Fish meristics and otolith removal Otolith reading and fish age determination Dogfish dissection Feeding behaviour in Sea anemones Hydrobia movement experiment Quantification of seabird population size (feld trip)

Assessment Criteria


Knowledge based on the practical course. A basic understanding of subject-specific concepts and principles


Knowledge based on the practical course and some evidence of enquiry beyond that. An understanding of most areas


Knowledge base extending well beyond the taught practical course. A thorough understanding of subject-specific concepts and principles and an in depth understanding of more specialised areas

Learning outcomes

  1. Appreciate good laboratory practice and implement laboratory skills obtained in year 1 (OSX1002)

  2. Demonstrate that they are competent in the routine use of transmitted and dissecting microscopes. Appreciate the need for care of microscopes and use lighting to obtain the best visual images of the material being examined.

  3. Maintain a detailed laboratory and field note book paying particular attention to the inclusion of extra notes drawings and figures and to use the notes from the previous years

  4. Demonstrate through examination and identification that they have a good understanding of the basic biology and construction of a range of benthic and pelagic marine invertebrates and vertebrates

  5. Use taxonomic keys routinely to identify a range of marine organisms that are provided as class material and to identify unknown material collected during the field and sea excursions.

  6. Demonstrate through the participation of shore based field work field work that they have undertaken and understand the concepts and purposes of quantitative sampling.

  7. Demonstrate they have been to sea on the RV Prince Madog, show an appreciation of working at sea and a rudimentary knowledge of deployed benthic gears (nets, grabs etc.), demonstrate an ability to identify at sea collected organisms and further investigate and identify them during practical classes.

  8. Become competent in the dissection of marine organisms and be able to identify common body organs during dissection.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
REPORT Report 1: Salt marsh report 8
REPORT Report 2: Life history of the shore crab 8
EXAM Exam semester 1 34
REPORT Report 3: Fisheries data analysis 8
REPORT Report 4: Hydrobia Q10 8
EXAM Exam semester 2 34

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Laboratory based practicals (42 hours)


Field excursions to representative shores (6 hours)


Ship-based field work (7 hours)

Private study

Private study (a minimum of 145 hours). Students will be required to append additional notes relating to the laboratory practical class material and will be expected to write notes relating to the field excursions and the ship based exercise in a standard laboratory notebook. Standard notebooks will be offered for sale at the beginning of term and students will be expected to purchase them. These notebooks will be visually checked and date stamped after each practical to provide feedback about progress. Students will be encouraged to research material using standard textbooks, available in the library or privately sourced, and using web-based material to extend the notes and drawings made during their practical classes and to make further notes in their notebooks.


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
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Develop and identify research question(s) and/or hypotheses as the basis for investigation.
  • Conduct fieldwork and/or laboratory work competently with awareness of appropriate risk assessment and ethical considerations
  • Recognize and apply appropriate theories and concepts from a range of disciplines.
  • Apply subject knowledge to the understanding and addressing of problems.
  • Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
  • Engagement with current developments in the biosciences and their application.
  • Appreciation of the complexity and diversity of life processes through the study of organisms.
  • Undertake field and/or laboratory studies of living systems.
  • Undertake practical work to ensure competence in basic experimental skills.
  • Collect and record data generated by a diverse range of methods.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of risk assessment and relevant legislation


Resource implications for students

Books, Field gear

Talis Reading list

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: