Foundation Degree in Marine Ecology and Conservation
Starting dates and places
2 years full-time or up to 6 years part-time.
Marine ecology is an integrative science that studies the basic structural and functional relationships within and among living populations and their physical−chemical environments in marine ecosystems. It is a discipline which draws on all the major fields within the biological sciences, focusing on specific organisms as well as particular environments. The importance of conserving marine species and ecosystems is growing as a consequence of human activities (including over−fishing, over−utilisation, degradation and loss of coastal and marine habitats, introduction of non−native species) and the intensification of global climate change. As…
Frequently asked questions
2 years full-time or up to 6 years part-time.
Marine ecology is an integrative science that studies the basic structural and functional relationships within and among living populations and their physical−chemical environments in marine ecosystems. It is a discipline which draws on all the major fields within the biological sciences, focusing on specific organisms as well as particular environments. The importance of conserving marine species and ecosystems is growing as a consequence of human activities (including over−fishing, over−utilisation, degradation and loss of coastal and marine habitats, introduction of non−native species) and the intensification of global climate change. As a result, the field of marine conservation and the management of marine species and ecosystems to prevent their decline are more important that ever before.
FdSc Marine Ecology and Conservation
This 2 year full time course requires 3 days per week attendance and includes a 300 hour industry placement prior to starting year 2. The course is presented through a combination of lectures, discussions, assignments, practical activities, visiting guest speakers, specialist visits and work experience. Students can also expect to attend a study tour.
Study and Research Skills
This unit aims to provide you with the necessary framework of study and research skills required to undertake the programme. It covers essential academic techniques and transferable skills and allows you to begin to develop your research ideas using appropriate techniques in preparation for undertaking the Specialist Research Project at Level I.
Introductory Marine Biology
This unit will provide an introduction to the ecology of the main marine ecosystems, from estuaries, to intertidal zones, to continental shelves and deep seas. It will consider the biology of a range of marine animals (vertebrates and invertebrates), including their taxonomy, identification and adaptations to their environment. This unit will involve a wide variety of marine biological fieldwork, allowing you to develop an appreciation for the broad range of sampling techniques used by marine ecologists.
Principles of Animal Behaviour
This unit aims to provide you with underpinning knowledge at an appropriate level in relation to causation, development, function and evolution of animal behaviour. The relationship between environmental and evolutionary pressures on resulting behaviours will be explored and examined in a variety of contexts e.g. animal collections, production, livestock and conservation programmes.
It will include a historical overview of a range of controlled behavioural studies enabling you to differentiate and recognise the relationship between ethology and behavioural physiology. An understanding of the theoretical content and parallel development of reasoning skills at this stage will allow you to make objective judgements and deliver informed responses to a variety of practical and ethical questions in additional course units; crucially, Legislation and Ethics (KMC/6).
This unit aims to provide you with a broad based awareness and understanding of ecological principles, environmental issues and biological diversity. Against this underpinning knowledge the unit will help develop understanding of current threats and controls in relation to habitats and resident species. Key concepts of conservation, habitat restoration and legislation will be introduced in this level C unit which will be relevant to further level I units in your particular framework pathway.
Marine Environmental Science
This unit will provide you with the underpinning knowledge required to understand the scientific processes which influence coastal / marine ecosystems, with particular reference to human impacts on these systems and how their study can be incorporated into developing applied conservation strategies.
It will begin by examining the role of the main earth sciences in marine environmental systems and will then consider the key principles of coastal geomorphology and oceanography in relation to marine and coastal conservation. Finally, it will examine the impact of human activities on marine and coastal ecosystems, with consideration to marine pollution, environmental economics, epidemiology, political and legislative aspects of EU environmental policy and key aspects of environmental impact assessment.
Legislation and Ethics
This unit aims to provide you with a broad based awareness and understanding of legislative instruments relevant to your programme of study. Provisions at a Global, EU and UK level will be considered and furthermore those factors pertinent to the effective implementation and enforcement of legislature will be reviewed and analysed.
Against this underpinning knowledge you will develop objective reasoning skills and abilities in order to consider the ethical and moral constraints surrounding environmental and / or in-situ and ex-situ animal management.
The ongoing research and recommendations of key industry and Government organizations (e.g. DEFRA) will be examined and the legal concepts of ‘due diligence’ and ‘duty of care’ will be introduced. Crucially, you will be introduced to the constructs of ethical debate and develop the reasoning and analytical skills that will be required in further units in your particular framework pathway.
Environmental Marine Animal Physiology
This unit will provide you with a detailed understanding of anatomy and physiology in a range of marine animal species, considering the structure and function of key organs and organ systems. This knowledge will be underpinned by a detailed understanding of the cellular basis of homeostatic mechanisms. You will develop a comparative approach to studying the role of animal physiology in adapting marine animals to a range of environmental pressures.
Work Based Learning
This unit complements the academic experience by providing opportunities for you to develop the knowledge, skills and work ethic necessary to succeed in industry.
Year Two / Level IZoology of Marine Invertebrates
This unit aims to provide you with a detailed knowledge of the evolutionary relationships, classification, life history strategies and conservation of the major groups of marine invertebrates. It will begin by introducing the main principles of invertebrate evolution and the taxonomic classification and identification of the main invertebrate Phyla. It will then examine invertebrate functional biology with reference to ecological, environmental and conservation factors and the significance of key marine invertebrate species in the conservation of a range of marine and coastal ecosystems will be considered.
Finally, the unit will investigate a range of national and international in-situ and ex-situ techniques for the conservation of marine invertebrates.
Zoology of Marine Vertebrates
This module will provide you with a detailed knowledge of marine vertebrate zoology, focussing on the taxonomy, physiology, behaviour, ecology and conservation of fish, seabirds, marine reptiles and marine mammals. It begins by providing an introduction to the structure and functions of vertebrates as seen from an evolutionary perspective and illustrates both the fundamental similarities and taxonomic diversity of vertebrates.
It will consider the physiology, reproduction and nutrition of different groups of marine vertebrates and will demonstrate how the basic functional ecology, behaviour and specific evolutionary trend have implications for animal-human interactions and marine and coastal conservation. You will develop the required skills to undertake field observations on a range of species and in a variety of marine and coastal environments. Finally, opportunities will be presented to consider applied aspects of zoology such as fisheries, aquaculture, conservation biology and ecotourism.
Coastal Processes and Geomorphology
As the constantly changing interface between land and sea, and an environment greatly influenced by global trends, the coast represents an important aspect of marine conservation. The aim of this unit is to provide you with a working knowledge of the environments and processes that occur along the coastline and its application to shoreline management.
It begins by introducing core concepts, global issues and processes that are common to many coastal environments including the morphodynamic paradigm, Quaternary sea-level fluctuations, tides, waves and sediment transport processes. It will then consider the morphodynamics of the five main types of coastal environments: fluvial-; tide-; and wave-dominated environments; rocky coasts; and coral reefs and islands. Finally, this unit will evaluate the impact of human activities on coastal systems and will consider the issue of coastal management and the role of legislative provision.
Marine and Coastal Conservation
This unit will take a global overview of the exploitation of living marine resources and marine biological approaches to conservation, covering marine biodiversity, critical habitats and environmental threats, fisheries exploitation, coastal zone management and marine protected areas. It will take a holistic approach to marine and coastal conservation, considering the economic, environmental, political and cultural influences on marine resource management.
You will be provided with an overview of the current state of marine mammal populations and the major threats facing marine mammal conservation, including fisheries, pollution, disease, and habitat loss. Finally, this unit will critically review national and international marine and coastal conservation strategies and evaluate their effectiveness.
Aquaculture Health and Welfare
The aim of this unit is to deliver the detailed background science relevant to commercial vertebrate and invertebrate aquaculture within the context of the legislative framework that underpins current practice. Specifically, it will review those husbandry and management strategies that impact on the environment and directly affect product quality.
You will debate the extent to which animal welfare is potentially affected, based on a consideration of behavioural requirements and an evaluation of research evidence pertaining to cognition and consciousness in fish and marine invertebrates of commercial significance, such as decapods. Given that disease control is a significant commercial and welfare concern within the aquaculture industry you will develop a critical understanding of principles that relate to disease outbreak investigation; to incorporate specific review of established and emerging diseases within aquaculture.
Specialist Research Project
This unit will enable you to choose a topic relevant to your academic and professional development and undertake a sustained investigation in that field. Your study will have a significant practical contribution and will be used to encourage and test initiative and independent thought. You will take responsibility for the formulation of an investigation plan and an initial survey of relevant information and possible methods of approach. You will develop skills of independent enquiry and understand the difference between a research question and hypotheses.
Scuba diving qualifications are available. Several field trips will be incorporated into the course and there will be an opportunity to attend a Study Tour.
2013 Entry: 120 tariff points including at least a grade C in 1 A-level level (preferred subjects include Biology, Environmental Sciences or Georgraphy), or an equivalent relevant Level 3 qualification e.g. BTEC National Diploma (preferred subjects include Animal Management or Countryside Management), or an Access to Higher Education Diploma.Minimum of 4 (grades A*-C) inlcuding Maths and English or appropriate Key Skills Level 2
In order for you to contribute fully to your course and enjoy your learning experience with us, you'll need to have the right skills to study with us. For that reason, we need to be sure that you can express yourself in written English, have basic numeracy skills and have an understanding of the subject area. We usually use Level 2 of the National Qualifications Framework as a demonstration of these skills. Level 2 includes GCSEs and Key Skills Level 2. If you are a mature candidate who does not have formal qualifications to this level, we may still be able to consider your application - please contact the askBU enquiry service to find out more.
BU welcomes Access to HE Diploma applicants.
The Advanced diploma is broadly equivalent to three and a half
A-levels and the progression diploma to two and a half A-levels.
The diplomas are available in just a few subject areas and only
some of these are suitable to gain entry onto this course.
This course accepts the following progression diplomas in conjunction with other qualifications:
*Environmental and Land Based Studies
This course accepts the following advanced diplomas:
*Environmental and Land Based Studies
Applications from students completing relevant BTEC Nationals
are welcome. Extended Diploma
This course requires PPP from the 18 unit Extended Diploma
This course requires MP from the 12 unit Diploma
This course requires a D from the 6 unit Subsidiary Diploma
We welcome applicants studying the Cambridge Pre-U Diploma or a combination of Pre-U subjects and A-levels
We welcome applicants completing the European Baccalaureate.
Scottish Advanced Highers, Scottish Highers and other Scottish qualifications are all welcomed providing that your results meet the overall course tariff.
IELTS 6.0 or above (with minimum 5.5 in each component)
This qualification offers excellent employment opportunities in the areas of marine conservation organisations, aquariums, fish health and disease organisations and marine conservation education.