Environmental Science & Sustainability (Dumfries campus) BSc

Aquatic Environment: Processes, Monitoring and Management DUMF3084

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 3 (SCQF level 9)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course advances learner understanding of the biological and physical processes vital to the health of aquatic environments. This knowledge is then applied in practical sessions focussed on developing learner understanding and experience of methods routinely employed across a range of careers in the environmental science sectors. The course is designed to support the development of key skills and familiarity with techniques essential in aquatic monitoring, as well as advancing student understanding of the varied facets and benchmarks of successful environmental management.


2 hours of lectures and approximately 2 hours of seminar or practical work weekly. Field classes will be held on some weeks.


The assessment will be a portfolio submitted in stages over the semester to enable successive feedback:

The summary report of two out of the four the practical tasks: one lab practical and one other (700 words) (2 x 30%)

A discussion of the implications of the findings of practical sessions (20%)

A learning journal to encourage reflective practice (20%)

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will 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 enable students to:

■ understand the key abiotic and biotic factors in aquatic ecosystems

■ recognise how key abiotic and biotic factors in aquatic ecosystems may be affected by a range of environmental issues, such as climate change, fishing and waste management.

■ identify the diversity of stakeholder groups affected by changes in the aquatic environment and the sectors responsible for aquatic environmental management.

■ become familiar with the methods routinely used across sectors to monitor aquatic environments.

■ understand the techniques used to manage threats to the aquatic environment.

■ develop specific graduate attributes in areas such as investigation, independent work, critical analysis, communication, reflection.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ produce a critical portfolio report on the methods used in monitoring and mitigating impacts in aquatic environments

■ describe the abiotic and biotic factors typical of a range of key aquatic habitats.

■ critically discuss the effects of anthropogenic activities and environmental changes on aquatic ecosystems.

■ identify methods appropriate for monitoring threats to aquatic habitats and ecosystems.

■ compare and critically evaluate mitigation methods employed in aquatic environmental management.

■ demonstrate: investigative skills through their report which includes critical analysis of data independently acquired; scientific reporting skills appropriate to a number of core disciplines in aquatic management; and reflection on the adequacy of data acquired.

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.