Zoology BSc/MSci

Marine Mammal and Seabird Ecology (with Field Course) 4Y option BIOL4210

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Biodiversity One Health Vet Med
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Summer
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course provides a detailed understanding of the diversity, behaviour, ecology and conservation of marine mammals and seabirds. The aim is to develop key field skills in identification, behavioural sampling and survey methods. It occurs in the summer prior to the student's final year. Students will be expected to make a financial contribution towards the costs.


This is an in-person 1 week course in June or July, residential at FSC Millport or other suitable field location, with 15 hours of online asynchronous lecture content provided in advance of the in-person component. 

This course can be taken as an alternative to the 10-week option course in Semester 1.

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by 100% continuous assessment, consisting of a reflective journal on methods of studying marine mammals (40%), a scientific report on a group designed independent research project (40%), and an oral presentation on national/international conservation or policy (20%).

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 main aims of this course are to:

■ provide an in-depth coverage of the taxonomy, ecology and conservation of marine mammals and seabirds; 

■ enable students to develop field, laboratory and data-analysis skills in appropriate research techniques; 

■ engage students in active discussion on current issues in marine research, conservation and policy. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

explain in detail the foraging ecology, diving behaviour, breeding biology and trophic interactions in marine mammals and seabirds in marine ecosystems;

critically evaluate and reflect on scientific methods used to record the abundance and behaviour of marine mammals and seabirds; 

apply suitable field or laboratory methods to analyse the abundance, diet and behaviour of marine mammals and seabirds; 

discuss and critically evaluate the status of marine mammals and seabirds and current national and international conservation policies. 

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.