Aquatic Ecology and Catchment Science


This module introduces the fundamental concepts of aquatic ecology through developing an understanding of the abiotic and biotic interactions of aquatic ecosystems. The characteristics of each aquatic ecosystem (river, lake, wetland, estuary and transitional) are explored. The module includes the main environmental pressures impacting aquatic ecology, the methods used to assess water quality and the environmental management approaches used to mitigate their impacts. The focus of the module is on the applied assessment of water quality, this includes an understanding of a range of physico-chemical and biological variables, how they are assessed and their significance. The theoretical knowledge of water quality assessment is applied in the field using a variety of sampling techniques and assessment methods. The outputs of these assessments are presented in technical reports. Throughout the module there is an emphasis on the environmental management and mitigation approaches to anthropogenic pollution and its impact on aquatic ecology.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Synthesise the interaction of the different abiotic and biotic processes and how they influence the aquatic environment.

  2. Identify the main environmental pressures impacting the aquatic environment and distinguish the impacts of the different types of pollution and aquatic invasive species.

  3. Assess water quality using a range of physico-chemical and biological assessment methods.

  4. Apply integrated solutions to environmental management approaches.

  5. Undertake integrated field-based sampling and laboratory based biological and physiochemical analyses, with cognisance and evaluation of the risks of working in hazardous environments.

  6. Interpret water quality data, research literature and present findings in a technical report.

% Coursework 50%
% Final Exam 50%