Module OSX-3023:
Marine Mammal Science

Module Facts

Run by School of Ocean Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Line Cordes

Overall aims and purpose

Overall Aims and Purpose of the Module:

This module is aimed at students with an interest in the conservation, behaviour and ecology of marine mammals.

The module introduces students to the principles of marine mammal biology, including zoogeography as well as the morphological, physiological, and behavioural adaptations that have allowed these species to occupy a diverse range of marine and some freshwater systems.

To make students aware of the conservation and management issues concerning marine mammals including case studies of human-marine mammal interactions.

To provide students with an understanding of the unique challenges facing marine mammal scientists including strong components of relevant quantitative techniques and research methods (using R), which are of vital importance for anyone with an interest in pursuing a career in this field.

Course content

This module will introduce students to the field of marine mammal science. Specific topics include: zoogeography, behavioural, physiological and morphological adaptations, population ecology, movement ecology, biologging and acoustics. Consideration will be given to how we use this knowledge to address conservation and management issues resulting from human-marine mammal interactions utilising both theory and case studies.

This module will involve three quantitative practicals on movement ecology, population ecology and bioacoustics where students will get the chance to explore tracking data, build population models, and estimate density of marine mammals. Students are expected to conduct all analyses in R (intro session to coding will be provided).

Assessment Criteria

good

Good is typically equivalent to a range between 50% and 70%

Where appropriate and possible, assessment criteria will be set individually for each assignment in the form of an online Rubric using the Turnitinuk software. In general, the category of good for an assessment, or aspect of an assessment would require the work to show wide knowledge and comprehensive understanding based predominantly on the taught programme and main recommended text, but typically with only limited evidence of enquiry and critical thought beyond that.

excellent

Excellent is typically equivalent to 70% to 100%

Where appropriate and possible, assessment criteria will be set individually for each assignment in the form of an online Rubric using the Turnitinuk software. In general, the category of excellent for an assessment, or aspect of an assessment would require the work to show a very wide knowledge base extending well beyond the directly taught programme and main recommended texts, and show an in-depth understanding of the concepts presented and where the assessment allows, some clear and deep powers of critical analysis

threshold

Threshold is typically equivalent to 40% to 50%

Where appropriate and possible, assessment criteria will be set individually for each assignment in the form of an online Rubric using the Turnitinuk software. In general, the category of threshold pass for an assessment, or aspect of an assessment would require the work to show knowledge and basic understanding reliant entirely on the taught programme, with very little, if any, evidence of critical analysis of sources or of findings. There may be minor evidence of lack of knowledge or understanding in places, but overall, the majority of any assessment submission would be factually correct.

Learning outcomes

  1. Upon successful completion of this module the student should have demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the principles of marine mammal biology via a variety of assessment types.

  2. Upon successful completion of this module the student should have demonstrated an ability to critically discuss the current conservation and management issues, drawing upon knowledge of the principles of marine mammal biology.

  3. Upon successful completion of this module the student should have demonstrated an understanding of the methodological challenges involved in studying marine mammals, and an ability to conduct relevant advanced quantitative analyses in R.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Population ecology: matrix modelling

This will involve a 3 hour workshop including a brief lecture on population modelling followed by students working with an example scenario which will equip them with the necessary skills for the assignment. During the following week there will be a 3 hour drop in session where students can come for help. The assignment involves answering the question of whether seals should allow to be culled. Students will build a matrix model and run different scenarios of culling. The results should be written up as a short publication in the journal of Marine Mammal Science. This should be submitted through Turnitin.

25
EXAM Examination

The exam will cover all academic aspects of the module, but will not include the testing of the practical ability to use R. In that respect, questions may be based upon all aspects covered during lectures including conservation, behaviour and ecology of marine mammals. Further guidance will be given during the lecture series.

50
COURSEWORK Animal movement: tracking marine mammals

This will entail a 3 hour workshop including an introductory R session followed by students working with example tracking data from a blue whale. The skills gained during the workshop will be directly relevant to the assignment of analysing tracking data from grey and harbour seals. The following week there will be a 3 hour long drop in session where students can ask for help. The actual test will be online via Blackboard and will involve analysis and interpretation of tracking data as well as critical thinking.

25

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Practical classes and workshops

4 x 3 hours

8
Study group

Six hours of help drop-in sessions related to assessments or any other aspect of the module

10
Private study

In-line with all SOS modules, there will be a variety of learning material made available to the students for private study. Much of the time will be devoted to preparing specific assignments. General learning about the subject area would typically facilitated by lecture slides, recordings, and the TALIS reading list. Other web links may also be posted where opportune and relevant.

166
Lecture

16 x 1 hour

16

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.

Subject specific skills

In following the module, students will gain and/or practice the following subject specific skills:

  • Develop and identify research question(s) and/or hypotheses as the basis for investigation.
  • Recognize and apply appropriate theories and concepts from a range of disciplines.
  • 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.
  • Appreciate the complexity and diversity of life processes through the study of organisms. Undertake practical work to ensure competence in basic experimental skills.

Resources

Resource implications for students

None

Talis Reading list

http://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/osx-3023.html

Reading list

The reading list will be copied across from the current OSX-3003 TALIS list, once the module is set to run.

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: