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Study-Unit Description
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CODE BIO1100

 
TITLE An Introduction to Marine Biology

 
LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course

 
ECTS CREDITS 2

 
DEPARTMENT Biology

 
DESCRIPTION This study-unit introduces participants to the basic concepts of marine biology with an emphasis on the Mediterranean marine environment, its habitats and the life they support. The main focus of the study-unit will be on marine biodiversity. The study-unit highlights how abiotic (non-living) factors influence the occurrence, distribution and abundance of marine species. The study-unit will also discuss aspects of fisheries and aquaculture, and marine conservation. This study-unit is designed for persons who wish to gain basic knowledge of Mediterranean marine biology. It does not assume previous knowledge of marine biology but expects participants to be conversant with basic biological principles and terminology. This course is open to university students other than those reading biology for a bachelor’s degree and to non-university participants who demonstrate that they can benefit from the course and who will be registered as auditors.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit is mainly aimed at providing participants with a basic knowledge of the:

1. Marine environment, in terms of the main physical, chemical and biological features of marine ecosystems.
2. Main physical and biological characteristics of the Mediterranean Sea.
3. Diversity of habitats and species in the marine environment, with an emphasis on the Mediterranean Sea.
4. Aspects of pollution and its impacts on the Mediterranean marine environment, with an emphasis on the Maltese Islands.
5. Aspects of aquaculture and fisheries, with an emphasis on the Mediterranean Sea and the Maltese Islands.
6. Aspects of marine conservation biology.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Appreciate and identify basic aspects of the marine environment, with particular focus on the Mediterranean marine environment.
2. Appreciate and identify basic aspects of the flora and fauna of the Mediterranean Sea.
3. Appreciate and identify the influence of disturbance and of pollution on marine species and habitats.
4. Appreciate and identify basic aspects of aquaculture and fisheries.
5. Acknowledge the importance and applications of marine conservation biology.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Integrate basic theory with practical issues concerning the marine environment.
2. Distinguish between the main groups of marine flora and fauna.
3. Apply basic knowledge of marine biology to understand how the marine environment may be affected by natural and anthropogenic factors.
4. Apply basic knowledge of aquaculture and fisheries to understand their benefits to society and to distinguish related environmental issues.
5. Distinguish between the different main techniques and gear used in (i) marine biological surveys, and (ii) harvesting of natural resources.
6. Apply basic knowledge of marine conservation biology to environmental management.
7. Distinguish between main groups of marine flora and fauna.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

• CASTRO P. & HUBER, M. E. Marine biology. McGraw-Hill.
• MOJETTA A. Mediterranean Sea: guide to the underwater life. Swan Hill Press.
• MORRISSEY J. F. & SUMICH J. L. Biology of marine life. Jones & Bartlett.
• NORSE E. A & CROWDER L. B. Marine Conservation Biology: the science of maintaining the sea's biodiversity. Island Press.
• AXIAK V., GAUCI V., MALLIA A., MALLIA E., SCHEMBRI P. J., SCHEMBRI A., & VELLA A. J. (1999). State of the Environment Report for Malta 1998, Ministry for the Environment, Malta. MAY BE DOWNLOADED FROM MEPA WEBSITE. STUDENTS WILL BE INFORMED ACCORDINGLY.
• AXIAK V., GAUCI V., MALLIA A., MALLIA E., SCHEMBRI P. J., SCHEMBRI A., VELLA A. J. & VELLA L. (2002). State of the environment report for Malta 2002, Ministry for Home Affairs and the Environment, Malta. MAY BE DOWNLOADED FROM MEPA WEBSITE. STUDENTS WILL BE INFORMED ACCORDINGLY.
• BIANCHI C. N. (2007). Biodiversity issues for the forthcoming tropical Mediterranean Sea. Hydrobiologia 580: 7-21. STUDENTS WILL BE GIVEN A COPY OF THIS ARTICLE.
• BIANCHI C. N. & Morri C. (2000). Marine biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea: situation, problems and prospects for future research. Marine Pollution Bulletin 40(5): 367-376. STUDENTS WILL BE GIVEN A COPY OF THIS ARTICLE.
• COLL M., PIRODDI C., STEENBACK J., KASCHNER K., BE RAIS LASRAM F., et al. 2010 The Biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea: Estimates, Patterns, and Threats. PLoS ONE 5(8): e11842. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011842. STUDENTS WILL BE GIVEN A COPY OF THIS ARTICLE.
• GRANT GROSS M. Oceanography: a view of the earth. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
• KING M. (2007). Fisheries Biology, Assessment and Management. Wiley-Blackwell; 2nd Edition edition.
• MALTA ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING AUTHORITY (2005). State of the environment report 2005. MAY BE DOWNLOADED FROM MEPA WEBSITE. STUDENTS WILL BE INFORMED ACCORDINGLY.
• MALTA ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING AUTHORITY (2008). The environment report 2008. MAY BE DOWNLOADED FROM MEPA WEBSITE. STUDENTS WILL BE INFORMED ACCORDINGLY.
• NIKIFOROS G. Fauna del Mediterraneo. Giunti Gruppo Editoriale, Firenze. [In Italian; ISBN 88-09-0208].
• PILLAY, T. V. R. & KUTTY M. N. Aquaculture: Principles and Practice. Blackwell Publishing.
• RIEDL, R. Fauna e flora del Mediterraneo. Franco Muzzio Editore [In Italian; ISBN 88 7021 573 3].

 
ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-requisite Qualifications: There are no set pre-requisites, but participants are expected to have a basic knowledge of Biology equivalent to Biology Intermediate Level.

This study-unit is not offered to students registered with the Biology Department.

 
STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Fieldwork and Independent Study

 
METHOD OF ASSESSMENT
Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 100%

 
LECTURER/S Victor Axiak
Joseph A. Borg
Simeon Deguara
Julian Evans (Co-ord.)
Leyla Knittweis
Patrick J. Schembri
Adriana Vella

 
The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
Calendar
Notices
MSc (Research) and PhD application deadlines
Application Deadlines for Academic Year 2017/18 
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