Marine & Freshwater Biology BSc/MSci

Freshwater Ecology (with Field Course) 4D option BIOL4050

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Biodiversity One Health Vet Med
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This option will consider the principles of freshwater ecology including the practical issues of conservation, pollution assessment and management in freshwater systems. 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.


This option is assigned to block S2-D. There is normally one 2-hour session on Fridays plus a 5-day residential field course, typically at SCENE, Rowardennan. 

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by a 2-hour examination (75%) and in-course assessment consisting of a mini project report (25%). 

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

This option aims to develop students' understanding of the principles of freshwater ecology, emphasising three main themes: 

■ the mechanisms in operation in rivers, lakes and wetlands;

■ the role of the major plant and animal groups in these systems and how they interact with the physical and chemical environment;

■ how knowledge of these principles is applied to the practical issues of conservation, fisheries management, pollution assessment and management of freshwater systems globally. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Critically assess and contrast the fundamentals of freshwater ecology as applied to both lakes and rivers globally; 

■ Evaluate the efficacy of applied ecological methods to manage freshwater systems for conservation, fisheries and pollution monitoring; 

■ Assess the quality of data and its interpretation presented in research papers and articles in the context of freshwater ecosystem management; 

■ Discuss and critique current freshwater management issues; 

■ Evaluate the roles of each of the major plant and animal groups in freshwater systems. 

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.