Modules for course F840 | BSC/PGO
BSc Physical Geography and Oceanography

These are the modules currently offered on this course in the 2018–19 academic year.

You can also view the modules offered in the years: 2017–18; 2019–20.

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Year 1 Modules

Compulsory Modules

Semester 1

  • OSX-1000: Tutorial 1 (20)
    This module is designed to introduce a range of skills required for a marine science degree and to encourage wider reading in marine science. It involves directed reading and the practice in oral and written presentations. Regular tutorials (7 to 10 students per group) will be held throughout the year during which essay writing skills, oral presentation skills and abstracting information from the scientific literature will be discussed. The module will be assessed by two essay assignments, two oral presentations and an abstracting exercise to be done during the semester.
    or
    OSC-1000: Tiwtorial 1 (20)
  • ONS-1001: Environmental data & analysis (20)
    This module, unlike most others, concentrates on giving the student the basic literature searching, numerical and statistical skills required for pursuing the rest of their respective programmes of study. The course relies heavily on computer-based material and so the student also learns how to use and evaluate on-line information, as well as how to converse, discuss and learn via the Blackboard software package. The course starts with an introduction to the Information Literacy Cycle, issues of plagiarism and how to avoid it, and good practice for citing and referencing. Thereafter, the course concentrates on key aspects of any science degree. Lectures introduced include: distributions of populations within scientific data; ideas of probability; unit systems used within science; accuracy and precision; algebraic manipulation; graphing linear systems; and coping with non-linearity in natural systems. Included as part of this will be an introduction to the use of excel and powerpoint - two software packages which are almost essential in the life of an undergraduate student. Following these mainly numerically-related lectures, the module focuses on the scientific method, hypothesis setting and testing; these leading to the fundamental ideas concerning experimental design. These concepts then extend to discussing the importance of replication in scientific datasets. Finally, an introduction to specific statistical tests (parametric and non-parametric) is presented. Library searching and referencing Introduction to distributions within scientific data Ideas of probability Description of distributions Preamble to MS Excel On-line exercises Presentation with MS Powerpoint Unit systems used in science Accuracy & precision. How many decimal places? Introduction to algebraic manipulation Graphing of linear systems Coping with non-linearity in nature (logs etc.) The scientific method: hypothesis setting and testing Introduction to experimental design The importance of replication in scientific datasets Examples of statistical tests: parametric versus non-parametric Regression and correlation ANOVA
    or
    ONC-1001: Dadansoddi Data Amgylcheddol (20)
    Mae'r modiwl hwn, yn wahanol i'r rhan fwyaf o fodiwlau eraill, yn canolbwyntio ar roi i'r myfyrwyr y sgiliau chwilio, rhifyddol ac ystadegol sylfaenol sydd eu hangen i ddilyn gweddill eu rhaglenni astudio. Mae'r cwrs yn dibynnu'n drwm ar ddeunydd cyfrifiadurol ac felly mae'r myfyriwr yn dysgu hefyd sut i ddefnyddio a gwerthuso gwybodaeth ar-lein yn ogystal â sut i sgwrsio, trafod a dysgu trwy gyfrwng pecyn meddalwedd Blackboard. Mae'r cwrs yn dechrau gyda chyflwyniad byr i system gyfrifiadurol y Brifysgol ( yn ystod yr Wythnos Groeso) ac yna'n symud ymlaen yn yr wythnos gyntaf i drafod rôl llenyddiaeth a thechnegau chwilio llenyddiaeth yn eu hastudiaethau yn y dyfodol. Ar ôl hynny, mae'r cwrs yn canolbwyntio ar agweddau allweddol unrhyw radd gwyddoniaeth. Mae'r darlithoedd a gyflwynir yn cynnwys: dosbarthiadau poblogaethau o fewn data gwyddonol; cysyniadau tebygolrwydd; systemau unedau a ddefnyddir mewn gwyddoniaeth; manwl gywirdeb; cyfrifiadau algebraig; rhyngberthnasau trigonometrig; gosod systemau llinol ar ffurf graff; ac ymdopi ag anflinoledd mewn systemau naturiol. Fel rhan o hyn ceir cyflwyniad i'r defnydd o Excel a Powerpoint - dau becyn meddalwedd sydd yn hanfodol bwysig i fywyd myfyriwr israddedig. Yn dilyn y darlithoedd hyn sydd yn ymwneud yn bennaf â rhifyddeg, mae'r modiwl yn canolbwyntio ar y dull gwyddonol, pennu a phrofi damcaniaethau; gan arwain at syniadau sylfaenol ynghylch cynllunio arbrofol. Yna mae'r cysyniadau hyn yn ymestyn i drafod pwysigrwydd dyblygu mewn setiau data gwyddonol. Yn olaf rhoddir cyflwyniad i brofion ystadegol penodol (parametrig ac anbarametrig). Llythrennedd gwybodaeth Gosod systemau llinol ar ffurf graff MS Excel Systemau unedau a ddefnyddir mewn gwyddoniaeth Manwl gywirdeb Cyflwyniad i ddosbarthiadau o fewn data gwyddonol Disgrifiad o ddosbarthiadau Cysyniadau tebygolrwydd Y dull gwyddonol: pennu a phrofi damcaniaethau Cyflwyniad gyda MS Powerpoint Cyflwyniad i gyfrifiadau algebraig Rhyngberthnasau trigonometrig Ymdopi ag aflinoledd ym myd natur; Cyflwyniad i ddylunio arbrofol Pwysigrwydd dyblygu mewn setiau data gwyddonol Enghreifftiau o brofion ystadegol; parametrig vs amharametrig Atchweliad a chydberthyniad Cyfraddau newid: gwahaniaethu Cyflwyniad i ddadansoddiad amlamrywedd
  • DXX-1005: Earth Systems and Processes (20)
    Key module topics will include: 1. Earth systems and earth processes: introduction and key concepts 2. The Geosphere: key geological concepts and processes. 3. Weathering processes 4. The atmosphere: global and regional atmospheric circulation 5. Atmosphere-Ocean interaction: influence on climate, ENSO & NAO cycles & cyclones 6. The hydrosphere: introduction to the hydrological cycle, run-off generation & basic principles of hydrology. 7. Glacial environments: introduction to ice-mass description, ice mass movement and glacial geomorphology. 8. The biosphere: introduction to soils 9. The biosphere: introduction to biogeography 10. Introduction to global biogeochemical cycles: the Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles.
  • OSX-1005: Introducing the Oceans (20)
    Provide a conceptual model of the physical systems of the oceans. Introduce the basic dynamical balances that govern ocean circulation. Demonstrate the links between ocean circulation and climate. Examine the influence of biological activity and ocean circulation on ocean chemistry. Understand the elements are continuously recycled in the oceans. Gain experience and skills in laboratory techniques relevant to an understanding of ocean chemistry. Gain experience and skills in laboratory techniques relevant to the flow of water, waves and density currents and basic dynamics.
  • DXX-1006: Field Course: Making Snowdonia (20)
    This module combines lectures and fieldwork to provide a broad overview of the processes that have given rise to the distinctive features of the Snowdonian landscape. The module focuses on the five key themes of Geology, Ecology, Forestry, Agriculture and Society. Lectures provide a broad overview of the topics and introduce relevant theoretical and conceptual points. The main areas covered will include: underlying geology; glaciation; post-glacial ecology; soil formation; political history of community, private and state forestry; history of human habitation and resource use; the formation and development of the national park. Students will be taken to key sites that demonstrate how these processes interact and relate to particular places.
    or
    DXC-1006: Gwaith Maes: Creu Eryri (20)
    Bydd y modiwl hwn yn cyfuno darlithoedd a gwaith maes i roi trosolwg bras ar y prosesau sydd wedi creu nodweddion arbennig tirwedd Eryri. Bydd y modiwl yn canolbwyntio ar bum brif thema, sef daeareg, ecoleg, coedwigaeth, amaeth a chymdeithas. Bydd y darlithoedd yn rhoi trosolwg bras ar y pynciau ac yn cyflwyno pwyntiau damcaniaethol a chysyniadol perthnasol. Y prif feysydd dan sylw fydd: daeareg waelodol; rhewlifiant; ecoleg ôl-rewlifol; ffurfio pridd; hanes gwleidyddol y gymuned; coedwigaeth breifat a choedwigaeth y wladwriaeth; hanes preswyliad dynol a defnydd adnoddau; hanes ffurfio a datblygu’r parc cenedlaethol. Bydd myfyrwyr yn cael eu hebrwng i safleoedd allweddol sy’n dangos sut y mae’r prosesau hyn yn rhyngweithio ac yn berthnasol i leoedd penodol.

Semester 2

  • OSX-1000: Tutorial 1
    This module is designed to introduce a range of skills required for a marine science degree and to encourage wider reading in marine science. It involves directed reading and the practice in oral and written presentations. Regular tutorials (7 to 10 students per group) will be held throughout the year during which essay writing skills, oral presentation skills and abstracting information from the scientific literature will be discussed. The module will be assessed by two essay assignments, two oral presentations and an abstracting exercise to be done during the semester.
    or
    OSC-1000: Tiwtorial 1
  • ONS-1001: Environmental data & analysis
    This module, unlike most others, concentrates on giving the student the basic literature searching, numerical and statistical skills required for pursuing the rest of their respective programmes of study. The course relies heavily on computer-based material and so the student also learns how to use and evaluate on-line information, as well as how to converse, discuss and learn via the Blackboard software package. The course starts with an introduction to the Information Literacy Cycle, issues of plagiarism and how to avoid it, and good practice for citing and referencing. Thereafter, the course concentrates on key aspects of any science degree. Lectures introduced include: distributions of populations within scientific data; ideas of probability; unit systems used within science; accuracy and precision; algebraic manipulation; graphing linear systems; and coping with non-linearity in natural systems. Included as part of this will be an introduction to the use of excel and powerpoint - two software packages which are almost essential in the life of an undergraduate student. Following these mainly numerically-related lectures, the module focuses on the scientific method, hypothesis setting and testing; these leading to the fundamental ideas concerning experimental design. These concepts then extend to discussing the importance of replication in scientific datasets. Finally, an introduction to specific statistical tests (parametric and non-parametric) is presented. Library searching and referencing Introduction to distributions within scientific data Ideas of probability Description of distributions Preamble to MS Excel On-line exercises Presentation with MS Powerpoint Unit systems used in science Accuracy & precision. How many decimal places? Introduction to algebraic manipulation Graphing of linear systems Coping with non-linearity in nature (logs etc.) The scientific method: hypothesis setting and testing Introduction to experimental design The importance of replication in scientific datasets Examples of statistical tests: parametric versus non-parametric Regression and correlation ANOVA
    or
    ONC-1001: Dadansoddi Data Amgylcheddol
    Mae'r modiwl hwn, yn wahanol i'r rhan fwyaf o fodiwlau eraill, yn canolbwyntio ar roi i'r myfyrwyr y sgiliau chwilio, rhifyddol ac ystadegol sylfaenol sydd eu hangen i ddilyn gweddill eu rhaglenni astudio. Mae'r cwrs yn dibynnu'n drwm ar ddeunydd cyfrifiadurol ac felly mae'r myfyriwr yn dysgu hefyd sut i ddefnyddio a gwerthuso gwybodaeth ar-lein yn ogystal â sut i sgwrsio, trafod a dysgu trwy gyfrwng pecyn meddalwedd Blackboard. Mae'r cwrs yn dechrau gyda chyflwyniad byr i system gyfrifiadurol y Brifysgol ( yn ystod yr Wythnos Groeso) ac yna'n symud ymlaen yn yr wythnos gyntaf i drafod rôl llenyddiaeth a thechnegau chwilio llenyddiaeth yn eu hastudiaethau yn y dyfodol. Ar ôl hynny, mae'r cwrs yn canolbwyntio ar agweddau allweddol unrhyw radd gwyddoniaeth. Mae'r darlithoedd a gyflwynir yn cynnwys: dosbarthiadau poblogaethau o fewn data gwyddonol; cysyniadau tebygolrwydd; systemau unedau a ddefnyddir mewn gwyddoniaeth; manwl gywirdeb; cyfrifiadau algebraig; rhyngberthnasau trigonometrig; gosod systemau llinol ar ffurf graff; ac ymdopi ag anflinoledd mewn systemau naturiol. Fel rhan o hyn ceir cyflwyniad i'r defnydd o Excel a Powerpoint - dau becyn meddalwedd sydd yn hanfodol bwysig i fywyd myfyriwr israddedig. Yn dilyn y darlithoedd hyn sydd yn ymwneud yn bennaf â rhifyddeg, mae'r modiwl yn canolbwyntio ar y dull gwyddonol, pennu a phrofi damcaniaethau; gan arwain at syniadau sylfaenol ynghylch cynllunio arbrofol. Yna mae'r cysyniadau hyn yn ymestyn i drafod pwysigrwydd dyblygu mewn setiau data gwyddonol. Yn olaf rhoddir cyflwyniad i brofion ystadegol penodol (parametrig ac anbarametrig). Llythrennedd gwybodaeth Gosod systemau llinol ar ffurf graff MS Excel Systemau unedau a ddefnyddir mewn gwyddoniaeth Manwl gywirdeb Cyflwyniad i ddosbarthiadau o fewn data gwyddonol Disgrifiad o ddosbarthiadau Cysyniadau tebygolrwydd Y dull gwyddonol: pennu a phrofi damcaniaethau Cyflwyniad gyda MS Powerpoint Cyflwyniad i gyfrifiadau algebraig Rhyngberthnasau trigonometrig Ymdopi ag aflinoledd ym myd natur; Cyflwyniad i ddylunio arbrofol Pwysigrwydd dyblygu mewn setiau data gwyddonol Enghreifftiau o brofion ystadegol; parametrig vs amharametrig Atchweliad a chydberthyniad Cyfraddau newid: gwahaniaethu Cyflwyniad i ddadansoddiad amlamrywedd
  • OSX-1003: Earth, Climate & Evolution (20)
    An exploration of environmental change, including climate change, and its impacts on biological evolution on geological time scales. This includes an introduction to the geological tools and techniques used to decipher and interpret the geological and fossil records. It examines how the earth works: tectonics, climate, the sedimentary cycle, sea level change. The climate system (inputs, budgets), climate change (external forcings, feedback), global cooling and warming. Major events in earth history: e.g. its origin, the origin of life, evolution of bacteria and multicellular organisms, significant biological changes from the late Precambrian to the Quaternary, major climate and eustatic events in geological history, etc. There is emphasis on Quaternary changes - climatic cycles and anthropogenic impacts - since these still resonate in the present day environment. Global climate modelling including hindcasting and prediction.
  • OSX-1005: Introducing the Oceans
    Provide a conceptual model of the physical systems of the oceans. Introduce the basic dynamical balances that govern ocean circulation. Demonstrate the links between ocean circulation and climate. Examine the influence of biological activity and ocean circulation on ocean chemistry. Understand the elements are continuously recycled in the oceans. Gain experience and skills in laboratory techniques relevant to an understanding of ocean chemistry. Gain experience and skills in laboratory techniques relevant to the flow of water, waves and density currents and basic dynamics.

Optional Modules

0 credits from:

Year 2 Modules

Compulsory Modules

Semester 1

  • OSX-2007: Ship-based field course (20)
    This module provides experience of multidisciplinary fieldwork at sea. A wide range of oceanographic and geophysical instrumentation is introduced including instruments for measuring salinity, temperature, currents, chlorophyll, suspended and sea bed sediments. These include CTD, optical instruments (transmissometer, fluorometer), geoacoustic instruments (Side scan sonar, Sub-bottom profiler), and instruments for measuring current (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler). In addition sampling of plankton, suspended and seabed sediments will be covered. Students spend one full day at sea on the Prince Madog collecting data using on-board instrumentation and collecting samples from the water column and sea bed. These are combined with data collected by students on other days (at least 9 in total, depending on numbers taking module) to produce an extensive data base. This is used to produce a data analysis report, and research report/paper the topic of which can be tailored to suit an individual student's interests.
  • OSX-2011: Ice and Oceans (20)
    Glaciology: glaciers on the earth's surface; scale and forms. Ice accumulation and ablation; glacier mass balance. Glacier thermal regime. Ice flow/movement. Processes of glacial erosion, sediment entrainment/transport and deposition on land and in the ocean. Ice sheets as archives of past climate change. Ice core records. Control of sea-level by glaciers. The glacio-eustatic mechanism, glacio-hydro-isostasy, ice-water gravitational attraction. High latitude physical oceanography: the generation of deep-cold, bottom water masses (NADW, AABW) and their influence on Northern Atlantic, Southern Ocean and the general circulation of the oceans. The circulation of the Southern, Arctic and North Atlantic oceans. Terrestrial ice in the ocean: ice shelves, ice tongues, icebergs and their role in deposition and sediment reworking. Tidewater glaciers and fjords. Grounding line fans, glacial debris flows, trough mouth fans, slumps and slides. Glacial geology of the Polar North Atlantic. Icebergs and iceberg scour. Ecology and palaeoecology of glacimarine environments. Criteria used to identify glacimarine environments. Ice-rafted detritus in deep marine sediments. The module will embed 1. a Field Excursion to Snowdonia and the Llyn Peninsula to examine glacigenic landforms and sediments, and 2. desk-top study related to ice-ocean interactions and IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) 2007.

Semester 2

  • OSX-2000: Communicating Science (20)
    Topics covered will be very wide ranging across Ocean Sciences. Individual staff each provide an area of interest. Students choose a general area of interest and are, where possible, matched to the tutorial group of the appropriate member of staff. Tutorial groups will be of approximately equal size.
    or
    OSC-2000: Cyfathrebu Gwyddoniaeth (20)
  • OSX-2007: Ship-based field course
    This module provides experience of multidisciplinary fieldwork at sea. A wide range of oceanographic and geophysical instrumentation is introduced including instruments for measuring salinity, temperature, currents, chlorophyll, suspended and sea bed sediments. These include CTD, optical instruments (transmissometer, fluorometer), geoacoustic instruments (Side scan sonar, Sub-bottom profiler), and instruments for measuring current (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler). In addition sampling of plankton, suspended and seabed sediments will be covered. Students spend one full day at sea on the Prince Madog collecting data using on-board instrumentation and collecting samples from the water column and sea bed. These are combined with data collected by students on other days (at least 9 in total, depending on numbers taking module) to produce an extensive data base. This is used to produce a data analysis report, and research report/paper the topic of which can be tailored to suit an individual student's interests.
  • DXX-2015: Field Course: Geography (20)
    The field course involves field visits and student-led research activities focused on the physical processes that generate earth resources, the environment legacy of resource exploitation and the socio-economic changes that occur (both historically and contemporally) with the development of extractive industries. The module will particularly focus upon the industries that have developed in association with resources of china clay, slate and metals. The course will involve summatively and formatively assessed group work as well as individually-authored assessment.

Optional Modules

40 credits from:

  • DXX-2002: Water, air & soil pollution (20) (Semester 1)
    1. Introduction to soil quality 2. Key concept: Soil water 3. Key concept: Nutrient cycling in ecosystems 4. Key concept: Soil biology and biodiversity 5. Key concept: Nutrient function and plant uptake 6. Key concept: The rhizosphere 7. Key concept: Mycorrhizas and N2 fixation 8. Global problems I: Soil salinity 9. Global problems II: Soil acidity 10. Global problems III: Human and animal pathogens 11. Global problems IV: Organic pollutants 12. Global problems V: Food security (inc. pests and fertilizers) 13. Global problems VI: Soil erosion 14. Global problems VII: Water use and conservation 15. Global problems VIII: Heavy metals 16. Introduction to air quality 17. Global problems III: Volcanic/Particulate matter (PM10s etc) 18. Global problems IV: Radon 19. Introduction to water quality 20. Global problems I: Eutrophication 21. Global problems II: Sewage and waterborne diseases 22. Global problems III: Pesticides and pollutants
  • OSX-2004: Estuary & Shelf Sea Processes (20) (Semester 1)
    This course introduces the fundamental processes occurring in shelf seas and estuaries and examines the relationship between physics, chemistry and sediments. Topics covered include: air-sea interaction (heat, gases etc) water column structure: seasonal stratification and mixing inputs of fresh water at the coast and estuarine circulation movement of sediments in shelf seas and estuaries nutrients and chemical origin, cycling and fate in shelf sea palaeo-oceanography of shelf seas The course is taught through lectures, laboratory and computer practicals and a field course.
  • OSX-2005: Earth and Ocean Observation (20) (Semester 2)
    Geodesy - Shape of the Earth - The Geoid - Datums - Co-ordinate systems and transformations - Projections Position fixing systems - GPS - Galileo and Glonass - Underwater positioning systems Remote sensing - Introduction - Remote sensing systems - Corrections applied to the data - Processing of remote sensing data - Applications of instrumentation Acoustic methods - Acoustic theory - Acoustic instrumentation and survey techniques - Applications of seafloor mapping
  • DXX-2006: Climate Change (20) (Semester 1)
    1. Major concepts; climate and environmental change and `global warming¿. 2. Temporal and spatial patterns of historical climate change. Major glacial/interglacial cycles, Quaternary climate change (Last Glacial Maximum, Younger Dryas Hypsithermal, Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age). Potential contributing factors (orbital forcing, sunspot activity). Hemispheric differences in climate variation. 3. Use of environmental proxies. The course will cover the use of a range of environmental proxies for reconstructing past climate at a range of temporal and spatial scales. This will include the use of dendrochronological records, palaeo-atmospheric chemistry (ice-cores), speleotherms, varved sedimentary deposits, documentary records, primary climate observations. 4. Environmental and human impacts of climate change. Focusing on both historical and contemporary issues: megafaunal extinctions, population stress in the LIA, drought in sub-Saharan Africa. 5. The contemporary climate change debate. Depiction in the popular media, causes, magnitude. Evidence presented in the peer-reviewed, scientific literature. 6. Future predictions of climate change. IPCC, GCMs. 7. Adaption to climate change. Focus on both attempts to address potential causes (CO2 and `greenhouse gas¿ releases, Kyoto Protocol, Copenhagen Summit, carbon capture, renewable energy, energy efficiency, carbon credits, offsetting) and impacts (impacts of climatic change upon weather and the environment, changing frequency and magnitude of extreme events). 8. Socio-economic impacts of climate change.
  • OSX-2006: Tides, Waves and Sampling (20) (Semester 1)
    Chemical oceanography: The methods associated with measuring primary production and the collection of dissolved and particulate constituents will be presented along with the advantages and disadvantages of each particular methodology. Physical oceanography: Topics relating to the tides will be the speed of shallow water waves, the effect of wave reflection and the Earth's rotation, amphidromic systems, tidal friction, and an explanation of the tides around the UK. Topics related to surface waves will be wave generation by wind/storms, the propagation of wave energy in deep and shallow water, wave transformation and refraction in coastal waters, wave diffraction, wave breaking and the classification of breaking waves, breakpoint bars on beaches.
  • DXX-2011: Catchment Processes (20) (Semester 2)
    This module will provide a management-oriented understanding of the factors influencing the quality and quantity of soil and water resources. The hydrological cycle and water balance in catchments; rainfall/runoff relationships; catchment characteristics; catchment structure ¿ hillslope, channel & floodplain domains; sedimentation; the role of vegetation and land-use changes in catchment stability, hydrological processes and soil erosion; water quality; temperate and tropical catchment results and case studies; degrading processes in catchments; legislation and the Water Framework Directive.