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Module OSX-1002:
Marine Biology Practical 1

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

This module aims to introduce students to four important components of Marine Biology: Field Science, Laboratory Science and Communicating Science. They also aim to introduce students to the breadth of active research within the School Of Ocean Sciences. Students will experience a range of different methods regularly used by Marine Biologists including dissection, microscopes, species identification, data collection, and data analysis. There is also an emphasis on teaching students’ good laboratory and field protocol throughout. During these experiences, students are exposed to a diverse range of species and habitats. At the end of this module, they should have obtained several core-skills needed in their studies, and transferable skills that can be applied across subjects.

Course content

There are 15 sessions in this module. The Field Science sessions involve trips to a range of coastal locations around Anglesey. Students will test a series of hypotheses about the distributions of intertidal animals in these extreme habitats - recording information in the field, before analysing this data on their return. The Laboratory Science sessions involve the inspection of a range of organisms at the School. Students will be introduced to the anatomy and physiological characteristics of several vertebrates and invertebrates – learning how to effectively identify and discriminate among species they are likely to encounter. The Communicating Science session involves a trip to the Anglesey Sea Zoo. Students will work together in small groups to prepare and perform a presentation, learning how to communicate interesting scientific findings and facts to their peers.

Assessment Criteria


Knowledge extending well beyond taught material. A thorough understanding of subject-specific concepts and principles, often extending into more specialised areas.


Knowledge based on taught material. A basic understanding of subject-specific concepts and principles.


Knowledge based on the taught material. An understanding of subject-specific concepts and principles, sometimes extending into more specialised areas.

Learning outcomes

  1. Become acquainted with setting hypotheses, collecting and analysing data.

  2. Develop correct and safe field/laboratory protocol.

  3. To maintain a clear and accurate notebook.

  4. To gain skills in dissection and microscope use in the laboratory.

  5. To gain skills in collecting field-data.

  6. To recognise and identify organisms to taxa and species-level.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
REPORT Field Report 1

A field report based on the Shellfish Ecology session.


A group presentation following the Sea Zoo session.

EXAM Semester 1 Exam 30
EXAM Semester 2 Exam 30
REPORT Field Report 2

A field report based on the Sandy Shore Ecology session.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


Drop-in sessions for assistance with SA1 assessment.


Introductions to fieldwork and SA1 assessment.

Private study

Students should write additional notes during the field and laboratory sessions within their standard notebooks. Students should also research taught material further, and record these findings in their standard notebooks. Standard notebooks will be offered for sale at the beginning of term, and students will be expected to purchase them. These will be visually checked and date stamped after each practical.


Aquarium Visit and associated Workshop.


Revision session for EXAM 1 and EXAM 2.


Laboratory-based practicals.


Coast-based practicals.


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

Subject specific skills

  1. Undertake competent field and/or laboratory studies of living systems.
  2. Using research questions and/or hypotheses as the basis for investigation.
  3. Development of qualitative and quantitative techniques.
  4. Appreciation of the complexity/diversity of life processes through the study of organisms.
  5. Engage in discussion with specialists/non-specialists using appropriate language.
  6. Awareness of appropriate risk assessment and ethical considerations.


Resource implications for students

1. Students are advised to purchase of the books below. Copies of Hayward & Ryland held in the practical laboratory can be consulted during laboratory sessions. 2. Boots and outdoors clothing are required for Field Science sessions.

Reading list

  1. Hayward PJ & Ryland JS. Handbook of the Marine Fauna of North-West Europe, 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press. [Strongly recommended]
  2. Ruppert EE, Fox FS & Barnes RD. Invertebrate Zoology, 7th Edition. Brooks/Cole Publishing.
  3. Pechinik JA. Biology Of The Invertebrates, 7th Edition. McGraw-Hill Education.
  4. Levinton JS. Marine Biology: Function, Biodiversity, Ecology, 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: