Module OSX-3015:
Overseas Field Course VIMS USA

Module Facts

Run by School of Ocean Sciences

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Sarah Zylinski

Overall aims and purpose

This module is designed to educate students in the field and to allow them to reinforce and demonstrate practically information that they have gained during their 1st and 2nd year lecture and practical courses. The field excursions will introduce students to the ways in which various biological and physical environmental factors and their interactions can control community organisation and population structure in a selection of benthic systems in a sub-tropical estuarine setting overseas. Students will have the opportunity to sample and study saltmarsh communities, pelagic fisheries, intertidal and subtidal sediments using shore and boat based techniques.

Course content

This field course will take place during the summer following the second year at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), USA. The module is designed to educate students in the field and to allow them to reinforce and demonstrate practically information that they have gained during their 1st and 2nd year lecture and practical courses. The field excursions will introduce students to the ways in which various biological and physical environmental factors and their interactions can control community organisation and population structure in a selection of benthic systems in a sub-tropical estuarine setting overseas. Students will have the opportunity to sample and study saltmarsh communities, pelagic fisheries, intertidal and subtidal sediments using shore and boat based techniques.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

Basic knowledge derived from the lectures and some prescribed reading, but with limited ability to critically synthesize this basic knowledge. Good

good

Knowledge based around lectures and, for marks at the higher end of the scale, with clear evidence of reading the prescribed literature outside the lectures. The student understands the fundamentals and demonstrates some ability to critically synthesize the various strands of information.

excellent

Clear and concise presentation of the fundamentals and the details of all areas of the module supported by reading prescribed (and other) literature outside the lectures. Highly developed ability to critically synthesize the module information and to link with other modules in the programme.

Learning outcomes

  1. Comprehend the physical and biological factors controlling local distribution patterns of sub-tropical marine organisms.

  2. Understand the concepts of marine community structure and biodiversity

  3. Become familiar with a range of organisms from a sub-tropical environment and reinforce knowledge obtained during the lecture course OSX2009 (Marine Ecology)

  4. Gain experience of operating dredges, seine nets and other trawls in the shallow, warm waters of Wachapreague Bay

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Test 30
Field notebook 10
Report 60

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study

Directed Study – material in the form of illustrations, references to journal articles, reviews and book chapters will be placed on Blackboard for the students to access. Students will be directed to particular material during the course of the field work. Material will also be consulted following the field course and it is expected that elements of the directed reading will be used to support the information gained during the field work. Time will be spent writing one of two required reports

45
Fieldwork

Daily field excursions including preparatory lectures and follow up discussions i.e. seven of 5 hours duration.

35
Laboratory

Students will spend up to 20 hours in the laboratory examining animals that they have collected during the field trips.

20

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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

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
  • Consider issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
  • 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.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of risk assessment and relevant legislation
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of risk assessment and relevant legislation

Resources

Resource implications for students

Students usually pay ~£650

Reading list

Students are provided with relevant information and selected relevant publications during the field course

Courses including this module