MA Public Opinion and Political Behaviour
BSc Marine Biology options

Year 2, Component 05

Option(s) from list
Computational Data Analysis: R for Life Sciences

If we were to compile the DNA sequence of the human genome into a book, it would be 200,000 pages long, and would take 10 years to read. The ability to effectively interpret and analyse large-scale genetic and genomic data sets is a crucial skill for next-generation biologists. The module provides a basic introduction to R, the programming language of choice for biologists industry and academia. You learn to write scripts and functions, read and write data files in different formats, use basic plot functionalities and perform basic statistical analysis.

Plant Molecular Physiology and Genetics

The aim of this module is to provide a view of how a fundamental understanding of plant processes can impact on the production of plants for the 21st century. Learn the essential processes and constraints on plant growth and development, and explore how innovative technological approaches in plant sciences may provide real solutions to our future predicted global food shortage. You’ll look into key aspects of plant physiology such as different photosynthetic mechanisms, and modern approaches to manipulating plant performance and growth.

Molecular Ecology

This module will develop your understanding of how researchers examine the molecular components of life to better understand the ecology of living organisms. This feeds directly into modern approaches for conservation biology, monitoring ecosystems, examining species iterations, and advancing our understanding of the ecological and evolutionary relationships supporting a living planet. This module will be delivered via a series of lectures and lab practicals, with a balanced emphasis on both applying knowledge and understanding theory.

Biodiversity: From Genes to Ecosystems

Examine how competition, predation, herbivory, mutualism, disease and parasitism affect the distribution, abundance and growth of populations, and how populations interact to affect the structure and dynamics of ecological communities. You apply this ecological knowledge to real-world problems, such as pest control and conservation.

Applied Wildlife Sciences

Human activity is resulting in an ever-accelerating rate of extinction of biodiversity. Many species in the tropics are becoming extinct even before they have been described by science, while many more are threatened worldwide, including in the UK. Considering the need for biodiversity conservation, you work alongside some of the key employers in the sector including Essex Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency. Topics include sustainable fisheries and agriculture, climate change, environmental law and captive breeding and re-introduction.

Microbial Diversity and Biotechnology

Microbes have been on the Earth for at least 3.5 billion years; they tolerate or require a huge range of physico-chemical extremes and perform a remarkable array of functions. This module will examine the diversity of microbes, and how they can be applied for the benefit of society and the environment, for example by bioremediation of contaminated land, recovery of oil and metals, production of biofuels and therapeutic compounds.

Coral Reef Biology

You’ll gain an insight into biology and ecology of tropical coral reef systems. By explaining the nature of the connection between coral reefs and tropical biomes, we help you gain a thorough understanding of the ecological functioning of coral reef systems. We explore the biology of coral reef systems, the landscape ecology of tropical coastal marine systems and examine the importance of the threats to these systems and the options for management.

Tropical Marine Field Research Skills

Coral reef systems provide food and a source of income for more than half a billion people worldwide and are amongst the most biodiverse systems on the planet. Despite their global significance and universal recognition of their importance in terms of both food and economic security, the majority of coral reefs around the world are overexploited, threatened by multiple anthropogenic stressors and are in need of protection through appropriate management. This module will introduce you to the key practical skills required by coral reef biologists whilst also providing you with training in scuba diving, species identification, and scuba and snorkel based assessment and monitoring techniques. Coral reef research requires advanced in-water skills and, as part of this course, you will participate in diving and will be provided with the opportunity to undertake a speciality course that aims to develop key diving skills. If you are succesful, you will be awarded a Coral Reef Research diver certification from the Profession Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). This module aims to develop practical skills in coral reef monitoring, assessment and research. The module takes place at the end of our spring term (in your second year) on the island of Buton in the heart of The Coral Triangle, South East Sulawesi, Indonesia. The module will be mostly practical but will also include theory lectures, workshops, feedback sessions and a mini-project using the research diver skills that you learn. There is an additional cost for this trip (currently approximately £2,250), which you will be required to pay to the University. You will also incur a few additional expenses of your own (eg for dive medical, PADI membership, wetsuit, entry visa).

Coral Reef Research Skills (Virtual Field Course)

This module aims to provide a virtually-delivered alternative to in situ field courses that gives students the opportunity to develop core research skills used widely in tropical marine ecology. The module will focus on practical skills in coral reef surveying, with a particular emphasis on technological alternatives to traditional observational approaches with direct relevance to both further study and employability in the tropical marine research and conservation sector. Students will briefly experience traditional survey techniques using video footage collected from coral reefs in the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific, before completing workshops in novel alternatives such as stereo-video surveys for fish community analysis and 3D modelling via structure-from-motion photogrammetry to quantify habitat complexity. Students will also have the opportunity to interview a local conservation practitioner to develop an understanding of the unique challenges facing reef management stakeholders, especially in low income countries. Finally, students will apply their new survey skills to independent mini-research projects, using a combination of unanalysed raw images/video and larger raw data sets to produce a short report in scientific paper format.

Addressing Global Sustainability Challenges

This module develops knowledge from the exploration of the major themes of sustainability. Case studies will be used to deepen knowledge and explore specific examples from each facet of global sustainability. We will critically examine the current action being taken at the local and global scale.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

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