ENV BIOL 3520 - Research Methods in Marine Biology III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2023

Using industry standards in the practice of marine biology this course provides education in the methods of collection, analysis and reporting of coastal, aquarium and institutional laboratory data, and their experimental design. Lectures outline the fundamental disagreements in approach to science and quantitative sciences and the scientific and societal value of robust experimental methods. Some knowledge of basic statistics is required. Experimental design will be emphasised, and the elements of statistical tests, including linear modelling, will be considered in a variety of biological, planning and legal contexts. Practical work involves use of structured thinking to resolving spatial problems of sampling, computers and software, and will complement methods introduced in lectures. An understanding of the unique issues of problem solving marine sampling wave exposed and changing ocean environments are developed in a series of workshops. These workshops provide a sampling and statistical basis for students to consider the fundamental elements of developing their own sampling or experimental projects in an actual or simulated marine environment. This coverage of fundamental areas of sampling and statistical analysis, known to cause problems for marine biologists in their understanding and implementation of advice from statistician, bridges known gaps between biological training and industry needs.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ENV BIOL 3520
    Course Research Methods in Marine Biology III
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 7 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Prerequisites ENV BIOL 2530
    Incompatible ENV BIOL 3540
    Assumed Knowledge 6 units of Level II ENV BIOL courses & STATS 1000 or STATS 1004 or equivalent
    Course Description Using industry standards in the practice of marine biology this course provides education in the methods of collection, analysis and reporting of coastal, aquarium and institutional laboratory data, and their experimental design. Lectures outline the fundamental disagreements in approach to science and quantitative sciences and the scientific and societal value of robust experimental methods. Some knowledge of basic statistics is required. Experimental design will be emphasised, and the elements of statistical tests, including linear modelling, will be considered in a variety of biological, planning and legal contexts. Practical work involves use of structured thinking to resolving spatial problems of sampling, computers and software, and will complement methods introduced in lectures. An understanding of the unique issues of problem solving marine sampling wave exposed and changing ocean environments are developed in a series of workshops. These workshops provide a sampling and statistical basis for students to consider the fundamental elements of developing their own sampling or experimental projects in an actual or simulated marine environment. This coverage of fundamental areas of sampling and statistical analysis, known to cause problems for marine biologists in their understanding and implementation of advice from statistician, bridges known gaps between biological training and industry needs.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Sean Connell

    Professor Sean Connell
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

    1 Identify strategies for creativity in theoretical approaches to  marine biological research
    2 Demonstrate scientifically based sampling and experimental skills in ecology and environmental science
    3 Define logical observations, models and hypotheses to shape environmental research questions, both orally and written
    4 Demonstrate an understanding of different types of sampling, apply basic statistical techniques to real biological, environmental and ecological data and correctly interpret the outcomes
    5 Develop rigorous sampling designs and apply them to real world marine biology problems
    6 Demonstrate appropriate conventions in technical writing and graphical methods for presenting data in marine biology
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    2-6

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    1,3,4,5

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    2-4

    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.

    2,5,6

    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.

    3-6

    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.

    2, 4, 6

    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

    1,2,5,6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Calculator
    Recommended Resources
    PLEASE CONSULT YOUR WORKSHOP TEACHER
    Online Learning
    MyUni
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course demonstrates theory and practice through the direct exposure of logic, experimental design and experience of the natural environment.  Class activities are supported through field-based observation. Theory and practical aspects will be built from 1 x 2-hour lectures per week, by 1 x 4 hour field experiences per week that implement practical aspects of the theory taught in lectures.  Scientific method, derivation of hypotheses from theory, designing experiments to test hypotheses, collecting data,
    analysis and synthesis, and presentation of results will then be practiced during scheduled course times and culminate in small group projects on the 4 day field camp (mid-semester break) in which students apply all of these skills and orally present each iteration of their intellectual development (4 x 1 hr during the field camp) with feedback to analyse and write a scientific paper.  Each component is approached systematically so that at the end of the course all components are brought together through individual reports, group reports and presentations.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g. reading and revision).
    Learning Activities Summary
    Students learn about how to approach some of the key challenges that face the discipline of marine biology. The difficultly
    and solutions to understanding marine phenomena and solving their practical and theoretical problems across multiple spatial and temporal scales are explained in lectures.  Small group learning provides students practical situations to grapple with the logical approach to formulating theory form which hypotheses are derived. This small group leaning connects students to the reality of understanding how to design rigorous observational and experimental research programs, their costs and benefits of simple through complex programs, their relative practical and logistical difficulty and strengths and weakness in providing solutions to managers, government and the general public.

    Topics include but are not limited to:
    experimental design, how to test for species interactions, how to test for abiotic stressors, experimental designs for categorical data, experimental designs for continuous data, pulse and press experiments. 

    Lecture topics include:
     Physical forcing in marine environments;
    Spatial scales and seascapes;
    Positive and negative biological interactions in the ocean;
    Top-down and bottom-up ecology and its marine management;
    Local stressors in the ocean – nutrient pollution and sedimentation;
    Global stressors in the ocean – climate change, temperature and acidification;
    Early life-histories;
    Habitats – mangroves, saltmarsh and estuaries;
    seagrass and nursery habitats;
    coral reefs;
    Fisheries biology; and
    Marine Protected Areas for Fisheries and biodiversity management

    Application of scientific techniques and approaches:
     
    The practical component of this course will be completed on the compulsory mid-semester field camp at the University’s field station at Coobowie on the lower Yorke Peninsula.  This field camp brings together all aspects of the course; from identification of a problem for scientific solution, development of theory, derivation of hypotheses, experimental design and analysis, interpretation and refinement of the theory. 

    Small group learning and exposure to alternate marine environments with contrasting spatial patterning provides a diversity of challenges within in which students will learn the need to be open to new ways of applying method and the limits of scientific inference.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Quizzes Formative and Summative

    Weeks 3,5,7,9

    30% 1,4
    Assignments Formative and Summative Weeks 5 & 10 40% 1-6
    Final Exam Summative Exam Period 30% 1, 3-6
    Assessment Detail
    1.     Lab Quizzes 30%

    There will be four lab quizzes in practical sessions that will be worth 5% (x2) and 10% (x2) each. Quizzes will be short-answer written quizzes of 20 minutes in duration. Written feedback will be provided in the following practical. 

    2.    Assignments (40%)

    There will be two assignments worth 15% and 25% respectively. Each assignment will consist of several problem-based questions that will require some computing work for data analysis and short answer type responses (half to one page).

    The 15% assignment is on generic ecology skills (approximately 2 pages, 1500 words) and the 25% assignment is targeted at marine skills (approximately 3-4 pages, 2500 words)

    3.   Final Exam (30%)
    A two hour exam at the end of semester exam period that will draw on material from both lectures and practicals. It will require simple calculations, but will not involve computing.
    Submission
    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply.  A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.