Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Practical Limnology GEOG4122

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This option will provide students with the opportunity to carry out limnological techniques in the field. It will allow them to undertake a range of freshwater sampling techniques, biological monitoring and identification, boat work and group-designed research projects. Students will spend 3-4 days in the field at the SCENE Field Station during which time they will be trained in required limnological research techniques (3 days) and then interpret and present their research findings orally (1 days) and later through a report.


Three-four day residential field course -depends on size of class dictating the logistics to ensure all students have access to different techniques. Three days would be field based, one day would be presentation preparation and delivery.

Requirements of Entry

Entry to Level 3 Geography or Level 3 Earth Science (or relevant MSc programme)

Excluded Courses



GEOG4092 - Limnology -Understanding Lakes


Assessment will take place during the field course. In their groups, students will present a 20-minute seminar to the class on their research projects (50%).

Individually, they will prepare a 5-page report summarising the findings a key component of their choice from their new field skills (50%).

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

■ To introduce students to methods in measuring aquatic physio-chemical properties in two contrasting systems.

■ To allow students to undertake field techniques in lake structure, hydrochemistry, and biology.

■ To provide a practical contextualisation to limnological theory, enabling the generation and undertaking of a practical, field-based approach to understanding lake functioning.

■ To be able to relate this knowledge to lake systems beyond those studied.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Critically discuss various limnological sampling strategies.

■ Critically discuss the practical issues associated with a variety of limnological sampling techniques.

■ Measure and interpret the relationship between water column physical properties and biogeochemical cycles

■ Explain how to Identify and characterise freshwater planktonic organisms, discussing key features and ecosystem function.

■ Analyse freshwater planktonic structure and contextualise in a biogeochemical framework.

■ Plan, conduct, analyse and disseminate limnological research.

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.