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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 2

Overall aims and purpose

This module aims to introduce students to three important components of Marine Biology: Field Science, Laboratory Science and Communicating Science. It introduces students to the breadth of active research topics within the School Of Ocean Sciences. Students will use a range of different methods regularly employed by Marine Biologists including dissection, microscopy, species identification, data collection, and data analysis. There is also an emphasis on teaching students good laboratory and field skills 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 habitats - recording information in the field, before analysing these 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. Students will also learn how to communicate findings in the style of a scientific report.

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. Implement simple laboratory experimentation, or field sampling, to collect data to test a hypothesis.

  2. Research and present scientific information in an oral presentation demonstrating skills such as appropriate selection of topic and materials, clear organization, and effective presentation.

  3. Demonstrate the ability to dissect scientific specimens and use dissecting and compound microscopes to undertake anatomical observations, drawings and measurements.

  4. Apply knowledge gained during practical work to answer questions about methods used, results obtained, and/or interpretation

  5. Explore, summarise and graphically display key scientific results

  6. Demonstrate the ability to apply appropriate data analysis and interpretation to a scientific dataset.

  7. Explain the methods used and report the key results of practical work in the style of a scientific report, whilst adhering to scientific conventions in terms of structure, style, data presentation and referencing.

  8. Identify a range of marine organisms to taxa and/or species-level, and label key anatomical features.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Field Report 1 15
Sea Zoo Presentation 10
Semester 1 Exam 15
Field Report 2 15
Semester 2 Exam 15
Semester 1 Practical Test 15
Semester 2 Practical Test 15

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Drop-in sessions for assistance with first semester report assessment (CA1).


Introductions to fieldwork and first semester report assessment (CA1).


Aquarium Visit and associated Workshop, related to the communicating science assessment (CA2).


Revision session for EXAM 1 (semester 1) and EXAM 2 (semester 2).


Report writing and peer review workshop related to first semester report assessment (CA1).


Laboratory-based practicals.


Coast-based practicals.

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.


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


Resource implications for students

1. Students are advised to purchase copies of the books listed. Copies of Hayward & Ryland held in the practical laboratory can be consulted during laboratory sessions. 2. Boots and outdoor clothing are required for Field Science sessions. 3. Laboratory coats are required for Practical Laboratory sessions. Students are provided with a free laboratory coat at the start of their undergraduate degree. For those students who forget their laboratory coat, one can be rented from the technical staff for £1. If a laboratory coat is lost it must be replaced at the expense of the student. Students may purchase a laboratory coat from the technical staff for £10. 4. Laboratory notebooks are required for Practical Laboratory sessions. Students are provided with a free notebook at the start of their undergraduate degree. 5. Dissection kits are not required. For sessions, where dissection kits are required, kits will be provided by the technical staff. Students are welcome to bring their personal kit if they have one. Alternatively, kits can be purchased from the technical staff, but this is not a requirement.

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: