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Blue Planet

Module titleBlue Planet
Module codeBIOM568
Academic year2022/3
Module staff
Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module will give you an introduction to marine biology and oceanography and examine the many ways in which different ocean ecosystems shape the climate and support the diversity of life on Earth. You will consider the importance of oceans for climatic and biogeochemical cycles, and explore the interaction between human-induced climate change and ocean futures. You will also evaluate the importance of the oceans for food security, energy, transport, tourism, coastal protection and regional to global climate regulation. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module, suitable for both science and non-science graduates, introduces fundamental principles of marine biology and oceanography. It provides a solid platform upon which to explore key issues in marine science, including impacts of climate change, overfishing, habitat loss, ocean pollution, coastal development and aquaculture. Taught sessions from leading marine biologists and climate scientists will provide introductions to a range of topics, whilst subsequent interactive discussion sessions and debates will deepen your understanding and develop critical awareness and creative solutions-focussed thinking. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Compare and contrast marine ecosystems, considering environment, biodiversity and human impacts
  • 2. Explain the importance of the oceans for regulating the Earth’s climate and weather
  • 3. Demonstrate understanding about current and future, local and global, threats to ocean ecosystems
  • 4. Exhibit clarity of thinking and empathy to different stakeholders in debates

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Utilise a range of practical and modelling approaches to develop policy recommendations
  • 6. Produce accessible, informative and provocative media outputs relating to module content

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Develop critical awareness and progressive thinking on contemporary challenges
  • 8. Work in groups or individually to innovate solutions and present ideas to stakeholder groups
  • 9. Demonstrate a commitment to deepening knowledge and developing opinions on key ocean issues

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The precise module content will vary from year to year to reflect the current state of the scientific field and the research interests of relevant staff. Indicative topics include:

  • Oceanography
  • Marine ecosystems
  • Biodiversity
  • Oceans and climate change
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Marine pollution

Lectures will be followed by discussion sessions based on topics within the lectures, with reading materials circulated in advance where appropriate.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching18Lectures and discussion sessions
Scheduled learning and teaching2Film screening session
Scheduled learning and teaching16Field trips
Guided independent study54Lecture consolidation and associated reading
Guided independent study60Completion of assessments


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation on knowledge exchange event5 minutesAllOral and peer feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group film 305 minute film 2-4, 6-9Oral and/or written
Policy briefing document on proposed marine solution702000 words1-5, 7-9Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Group filmIndividual film on same topic2-4, 6-9Referred/deferred period
Policy briefing document on proposed marine solutionPolicy briefing document on proposed marine solution1-5, 7-9Referred/deferred period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to redo the relevant assessment. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 50%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Relevant textbooks, popular science books and review articles will be recommended at the start of the module. In addition, further recommended reading will support individual topics over the course of the module.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Marine biology, oceanography, ecology, ecosystems, biodiversity, climate change, warming, ocean acidification, sea level rise, fisheries, aquaculture, global change biology, pollution, plastics, coastal protection

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date