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Study information

Blue Planet

Module titleBlue Planet
Module codeBIOM568
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Lucy Woodall (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module provides you with an opportunity to engage with ocean issues and investigate practical and policy opportunities for change. You will consider the importance of the ocean including the different goods and services that it provides to humans and the planet. You will also evaluate and create solutions for the identified challenges and learn about the processes needed to support a sustainable ocean.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module, suitable for both science and non-science graduates and introduces fundamental principles of marine research. It provides a solid platform upon which to explore key issues in marine science, including impacts such as climate change, deep sea mining ocean pollution  and aquaculture. Taught sessions from leading marine biologists and policy experts 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. Describe different marine ecosystems, considering environment, biodiversity and human impacts
  • 2. Explain the importance of the ocean for humans and the planet as a whole
  • 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 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

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
  • Biodiversity
  • Climate change
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Marine pollution
  • Deep sea mining

Initial teaching sessions will develop fundamental knowledge and skills which support the topic-specific sessions that will be lectures followed by discussion sessions,  with reading materials circulated in advance where appropriate.

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, and skills teaching
Scheduled learning and teaching4Film screening session
Guided independent study68Lecture 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
Reflection on discussion sessions10500 words2-4, 9Written
Policy briefing document on proposed marine solution601500 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 topic (30%)2-4, 6-9August Ref/Def
Reflection on discussion sessionsReflection on discussion sessions (10%)2-4, 9August Ref/Def
Policy briefing document on proposed marine solutionPolicy briefing document on proposed marine solution (60%)1-5, 7-9August Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons that are approved by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. If deferred, the format and timing of the re-assessment for each of the summative assessments is detailed in the table above ('Details of re-assessment'). The mark given for a deferred assessment 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 (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) and the module cannot be condoned, you will be required to complete a re-assessment for each of the failed components on the module. The format and timing of the re-assessment for each of the summative assessments is detailed in the table above ('Details of re-assessment'). If you pass the module following re-assessment, your 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

  • ELE page (specific resources, including primary research papers, will be provided throughout the module using the dedicated 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


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date