Limnology: Understanding Lakes GEOG4092

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will provide geographers and Earth scientists with an understanding of limnology and its application to global environmental change and resource management. It is a lecture-based course, but learning will be enhanced through problem-based learning, including associated with a one-day field trip to Loch Leven. The course considers many aspects of lake functioning relevant to management of these systems and brings this understanding together in the field trip which is about lake management challenges.


For the first 4 weeks there are two sessions per week. One of these will be for 3 hours and the second for two hours. In the three-hour session, there are 2 hours of lectures and one hour allocated for problem-based learning in groups.

In the two-hour session, there is one hour of lectures and one hour of an assessed quiz (multiple choice) and immediate feedback.

The field trip will be for the duration of one day in week 5.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Fulfilment of entry requirements to Level 3 Geography or L3 Earth Sciences

Excluded Courses






The course is assessed through in-class problem-based learning exercises (30%), in-class quizzes (30%), and the field class report (40%). There are three quizzes and students are expected to undertake all, but only the best grade of one test will be used for the overall course mark.

Main Assessment In: December

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

■ To provide an overview of the fundamentals of lake functioning, including physical, chemical and biological parameters.

■ To demonstrate how understanding changes in lake functioning can be applied to modern-day environmental issues.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Describe the importance of physical characteristics to limnological behaviour.

■ Explain the interaction between lake biology, chemistry and physical characteristics, and their influence on lake functioning.

■ Explain the importance of this knowledge to identifying and analysing complex water management issues.

■ Develop skills of critical analysis.

■ Write critically reflective scientific reports.

■ Research complex multidisciplinary scientific issues.

■ Summarise the relevance of field study in managing lakes.

■ Work co-operatively and mutually with their peers (fellow students) in a variety of tasks that support these intended learning outcomes and enhance transferable skill acquisition.

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.