Tropical Marine Biology (with Field Course) 4Y option BIOL4126

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Life Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This option provides an introduction to the biology and management of tropical marine systems from coral reefs and sea grasses to mangroves. The option is taught by means of lectures in Glasgow and a residential field course in a suitable tropical area. The field course element will be subsidised by the School of Life Sciences, but students will be expected to make a personal contribution towards the costs.


There is normally one 2-hour session on Fridays. There is a 14-day overseas field trip, normally during weeks 12 and 13.

Requirements of Entry

Normally, only available to final-year School of Life Sciences students in a Degree Group A (Animal Biology group) programme. Students must apply in advance for a place on this course. The course is not available to visiting students.

Students must be competent swimmers. Students must demonstrate their ability to swim 10 x 25 m lengths without touching the poolside. Students with disabilities should discuss alternative arrangements with course staff. 

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by a 2-hour examination (70%) and in-course assessment consisting of a field report (20%) and reflective statement (10%). 

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The course aims to develop an understanding of the structure, characteristic biota, ecology and functioning of tropical marine ecosystems, and with an appreciation of how this knowledge is key to achieving sustainable conservation and management. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

■ Discuss the origin, structure and characteristic biota of coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds;

■ Evaluate the potential threats to tropical marine systems and the natural resources associated with them;

■ Critically evaluate the methods used to assess biodiversity, populations density and animal behaviour;

■ Discuss the sustainable management of natural ecosystems; 

■ Demonstrate a wide range of practical skills and abilities, including survey and experimental design, team working, planning and time management. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.