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Module OSX-3007:
Coastal Processes Field Study

Module Facts

Run by School of Ocean Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

1 week residential field course the week before welcome week at the beginning of third year. Taught in Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Suzanna Jackson

Overall aims and purpose

  1. To provide an interdisciplinary, holistic, observational investigation of a Holocene coastal barrier complex.

  2. To provide practical training in techniques used by oceaonographers in shallow water and intertidal environments.

  3. To use geophysical, sedimentological, and micropalaeontological data to formulate and test hypotheses on estuarine processes and coastal barrier evolution.

  4. To understand how a sedimentary facies is determined by pre-, syn-, and post-depositional processes.

Course content

The principal component of this double module is a residential field course in the Carmarthen Bay area. The field course is centred on a macrotidal estuary and adjacent coastal barrier and it is designed to teach students the essentials of field techniques in shallow water oceanography and intertidal geophysics and micropalaeontology. Students gain practical experience of measurements of estuarine and foreshore dynamics, sediment transport, surficial sediment thickness and structure, foraminifera ecology, and Quaternary stratigraphy. They gain experience of data collection from small boats. Most of the work is done in teams of 2-3, some in teams of up to 8, students. All of the data collection requires team effort. The acquired dataset enables students to test hypotheses and synthesise processes on time scales of 10(-2) to 10(3) years, and to produce an integrated model of Holocene coastal evolution. There are associated practical sessions in Menai Bridge.

Assessment Criteria


Ability to collect and present data with clear awareness of precision and accuracy; good knowledge of the coastal barrier and estuarine systems gained from the field course; clear ability to test hypotheses and to integrate information; good evidence of ability to integrate data on a range of time scales.


Ability to collect and present data with developed awareness of precision, accuracy and matters of data quality assurance; excellent knowledge of the coastal barrier and estuarine systems gained from the field course and from wider reading; developed ability to test hypotheses and to integrate information; good evidence of creative ability to integrate data on a range of time scales.


Ability to collect and present data with basic awareness of precision and accuracy; basic knowledge of the coastal barrier and estuarine systems gained from the field course; basic ability to test hypotheses and to integrate information; basic ability to integrate data on a range of time scales.

Learning outcomes

  1. Show an appreciation of a complex field measurement programme in a hazardous environment in a responsible and safe manner with due attention to risk assessment, health and safety regulations, and environmental impacts

  2. Identify individual and collective goals and responsibilities in a research group and collaborate within the group to maximise output

  3. Analyse data and integrate several lines of evidence, to formulate and test hypotheses on estuarine sedimentary processes and coastal barrier morphodynamics and evolution

  4. Understand the morphodynamics of a coastal barrier and estuarine system on a range of temporal and spatial scales with particular reference to human activities

  5. Understand and utilise the strengths of an interdisciplinary, holistic approach to investigating a depositional sedimentary environment and facies

  6. Analyse and synthesise field and laboratory data and information critically

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
LOGBOOK OR PORTFOLIO Fieldwork notebook 30
REPORT Scientific Report 70

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Lectures are given in Semester 1 after the field course to analyse and interpret data, thus providing support for the Scientific Paper assignment.

Private study

Data processing and interpretation. Preparing Scientific paper.


Residential week long field course in South Wales in June: 8 hours per day.

Practical classes and workshops

3 x 2 hour computer practical sessions 1 x 1 hour laboratory practical session


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
  • 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
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • 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
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in


Resource implications for students

The field course element of this module is paid for by the School of Ocean Sciences. Students are however required to pay for their food and drink during the field course.

Talis Reading list

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: