Adaptations to Aquatic Environments: Field Course

The module is a residential field course based at a Field centre with access to suitable Rocky Shore locations.

You will be able to spend 2 days on the sea shore examining the chemical and physical conditions on the sea shore that make it a unique life support system, and how representatives of different animal and plant phyla have adapted their behaviour and physiology to meet the variable conditions prevailing in their natural environment.

A major feature of the course is the opportunity to spend a further 4 days as part of a small group on a project designed to examine physiological or behavioural adaptations to aquatic environments. This work will then be written up independently. Students will be expected to present their findings orally. The module will allow you to develop planning and organisational skills as well as skills of experimental design,data analysis, communication and teamwork.

The lecture component of the module will introduce you to the biotic and abiotic characteristics of the marine environment with particular reference to the littoral (shore) zone. You will learn about the abundance and diversity of animals and plants that inhabit the marine littoral and their specific adaptations to life in this challenging and highly unpredictable environment. 

By the end of the module you should be able to:

  • Identify key species found on the seashore environment at Orielton;
  • Explain, using specific examples, how environmental conditions change in different zones of the seashore environment, and how these changes influence the distribution, abundance and diversity of the resident fauna and flora;
  • Describe the range of physiological and behavioural adaptations that allow organisms to survive and reproduce in this environment;
  • Show competence in some basic field, lab and analytical techniques for studying animal and plant diversity and distribution;
  • Keep a formal record of data collected in the field using a field journal;
  • Work in small teams and individually to solve the practical and theoretical problems encountered during field or laboratory projects;
  • Write up an independent research project to provide an evidence base supporting the achievement of learning outcomes 1-6;
  • Present the results of research/practical work and communicate these findings orally.
Coursework (100%)