Zoology BSc/MSci

Marine Mammal Biology (with Field Course) 4Y option BIOL4210

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Biodiversity One Health Vet Med
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Summer
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course provides a detailed understanding of the diversity, behaviour, ecology and conservation of marine mammals and teaches appropriate skills in marine mammal research. The course is residential and is based at FSC Millport, Isle of Cumbrae. 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 is a 7-day course in mid-July, residential at FSC Millport. 

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

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by a 2-hour examination (75%) and in-course assessment consisting of a field-course journal (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

The main aims of this course are to:

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

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

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

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ discuss the evolutionary origins, diversity and global distribution of marine mammals;

■ explain in detail the morphological, physiological and behavioural adaptations of marine mammals to an aquatic existence; 

■ critically evaluate the scientific methods used to record the movements and behaviour of marine mammals; 

■ apply suitable field and laboratory methods to assess the abundance and behaviour of marine mammals; 

■ discuss and critically appraise the status of marine mammal populations 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.