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Study information

Marine Vertebrate Conservation

Module titleMarine Vertebrate Conservation
Module codeBIO3116
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Professor Annette Broderick (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module focuses on the status of marine vertebrate species and the major threats that impact on them. Using a mixture of lectures, discussion sessions and background reading material you will develop and share your opinions on a range of topics in marine vertebrate conservation, an example of which is, which marine vertebrate group is most at risk from climate change?

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module will look at the science underpinning the ecology and conservation of the major marine megavertebrate groups (marine fishes, sea turtles, seabirds, seals, sirenians and cetaceans). Typical cross-cutting topics will include: status assessment, fisheries bycatch, wildlife trade, climate change, marine protected areas and conservation policy.

Research inspired, inquiry led learning is key in this module. Lectures and material provided will draw on published research case studies and you will engage with research staff and students at the University of Exeter who will give guest lectures on their latest research findings within the field of marine vertebrate conservation and ecology. Individual research, writing skills and group discussions are integral to this module.

In addition to module specific knowledge, the focus will also be on key employability skills including:

  • critical synthesis of literature around controversial topics,
  • oral communication skills,
  • audience awareness,
  • persuasive argument,
  • time management,
  • collaboration and team-work.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Explain the status of the major groups of marine vertebrates
  • 2. Outline the major threats to marine vertebrates and how these may be mitigated

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Describe in detail and analyse essential facts and theory across a sub-discipline of biosciences
  • 4. Analyse and evaluate independently a range of research-informed literature and synthesise research-informed examples from the literature
  • 5. Identify and implement, with limited guidance, appropriate methodologies and theories for solving a range of complex problems in the discipline
  • 6. With minimal guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis, practical investigation, and enquiry within the discipline
  • 7. Describe and evaluate in detail approaches to our understanding of marine conservation with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 8. Devise and sustain, with little guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with sound, convincing conclusions
  • 9. Communicate effectively arguments, evidence and conclusions using a variety of formats in a manner appropriate to the intended audience
  • 10. Analyse and evaluate appropriate data and complete a range of research-like tasks with very limited guidance
  • 11. Evaluate own strengths and weaknesses in relation to graduate-level professional and practical skills, and act autonomously to develop new areas of skills as necessary
  • 12. Reflect effectively and independently on learning experiences and evaluate personal achievements

Syllabus plan

The module will be delivered with face-to-face lectures and discussions. Lectures will cover topics relating to marine vertebrates such as:

  • status assessment
  • wildlife trade
  • fisheries bycatch
  • climate change
  • conservation policy

You will be given topics to research and you will present your findings during group discussions.

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 teaching 16Lectures focusing on status of marine vertebrates, fisheries impacts, wildlife trade, climate change, habitat destruction, bycatch mitigation
Scheduled learning and teaching6Discussions
Guided independent learning 128Additional research, reading and preparation for module assessments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Discussion 13 hours1-12Written

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
Attendance of formative discussion103 hours1-12
Presentation405 minutes1-12Written feedback
Discussion 2503 hours1-12Written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Attendance of formative discussionJournal summary1-12Referral/Deferred period
Presentation5 minute pre-recorded1-12Referral/Deferred period
Discussion 21000 word review of topic1-12Referral/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 40%) you will be required to submit a pre-recorded presentation and a 1000 word review of the topic. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading list will be provided for each lecture on ELE, mostly papers from the peer reviewed literature.

Key words search

Marine ecology, marine conservation, conservation policy, climate change, marine vertebrates, migration, status assessment, exploitation and fisheries

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BIO2432; BIO2437

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date