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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Marine Ecosystems and Policies (PGGE11254)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryMarine (coastal and ocean) environments are fundamental features of the Earth system that are profoundly influenced by human interactions. As these ecosystems are trans-boundary and multi-dimensional, the policy instruments governing the utilization of coastal ocean systems are complex. However, policies, laws and regulations are often disconnected to the scale and dynamics of targeted ecosystems and species in both time and space (e.g. oceanographic processes, migratory species, multi-site life stages). Many global to local scale policies could be more effective, support deeper understanding of ecosystem processes, and take into account cumulative impacts of social pressures and environmental change. Additionally, as technology advances, human population increases, and energy demands extend the horizons of marine exploration and exploitation further offshore, understanding the connections between ecosystem dynamics and policies is increasingly vital.
This course is focused on marine ecosystems, issues and policies in an integrated way that provides foundational learning for critical analysis of marine environments and human impacts. Diverse case studies across a range of biomes, scales, and issues are considered to examine and test the suitability of different policies for different ecosystem scales, environmental issues and socio-cultural contexts. Examples of case study scales include: Archipelagos and Islands, Estuaries, Semi-enclosed Seas, Continental Margins, Polar Seas, and Global Oceans.
(Note: This course is co-taught as a 20c course for PGT students and for a small number of fourth year UG Env. GeoScience and Ecology students, with joint lecture sessions).

Course description The Marine Methods in Research and Practice course has 4 main elements. In addition to pre-recorded material, activities (live online sessions, face to face tutorials and assessed presentations) will take place on Fridays.

1. Lectures: every week, students will receive a lecture on a new biome, with a related case study from academic staff and guest lecturers to reflect the latest advances in certain topics. Biomes for example include, polar regions, high seas, coral reefs and continental margins. These will be pre-recorded and posted on Mondays for viewing throughout the week. Online pre-recorded lectures will be complemented by a weekly online live question and answer session on Fridays with the lecturer/ guest speaker.
2. Journal responses and face to face tutorials. Questions or Journal Responses (see assessments section) based on the biome just covered will be set most weeks for discussion in tutorial sessions. Tutorials will take place on Fridays.
3. Presentations: You will be randomly assigned a biome and group to work with to prepare a presentation that combines the features of the biome, environmental issue, and policy challenge and solution. Presentations will occur over 2 weeks on Fridays.
4. Policy report and abstract symposia: Building on lectures, case studies and journal responses, students will conduct their own case-study policy analysis though an individual report, and present a short 3 minute abstract of this in the final week.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None for MSc. Students.

For UG students, Environmental Geosciences or Ecology student in their final year.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  46
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course is assessed entirely by coursework (100%). No examination will be held. Only activities 1, 3, and 4 listed below are marked. Detailed guidance for the Journal Responses, Presentations, and individual Policy Papers will be provided during the course.

1. JOURNAL RESPONSES (20% total mark): 4 x written journal responses with complementary discussion tutorials on Fridays. The responses will be 600 words only. They will provide a critical, objective response to a posed question, and you will play a different identity/role each week (e.g. NGO, developer, government, fisher). Your response will draw upon the core and additional readings on the biome and case study lectures. The 1st and 2nd response is not marked and is for group discussion and comments. The 3rd will receive formative feedback. The 4th (final) report is assessed.

2. POLICY PAPER ABSTRACT (not marked): For the end of the course, you will have researched and written a policy paper, on a topic of your choice, illustrating features of a key biome, environmental issue, and policy challenge and solution that you personally want to focus on. In advance, you will provide a 300 word draft abstract of your planned policy paper case study. This is not assessed, and is for formative feedback only.

3. GROUP PRESENTATIONS (20% total mark): Marked as a group.
You will be randomly assigned a biome and group to work with to prepare a presentation that combines the features of the biome, environmental issue, and policy challenge and solution.

4. INDIVIDUAL POLICY PAPERS (60% total mark)
You will research and write a policy paper, on a topic of your choice, illustrating features of a key biome, environmental issue, and policy challenge and solution that you personally want to focus on. This will be 2500 words max (main text, excluding references).

Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand coastal-marine ecosystem processes with regard to the inter-dynamics of different scales and human dimensions and drivers of environmental change
  2. Be familiar with an array of conservation pathways and scenarios for recovery, e.g. habitat conservation and restoration
  3. Be familiar with examples of key national and international marine conservation policies
  4. Conduct critical reviews of key literature and policies, developing the capacity to conduct policy analysis and suggest solutions for different settings and scales, resulting in a formal policy paper
  5. Be able to develop and demonstrate leadership and participation in group discussions, and team based oral presentations.
Reading List
For our guides along the way, we will be using Marine Ecology: Processes, Systems, and Impacts, 2nd ed., by Michel Kaiser, et al. While this textbook is not required, it is highly recommended and some copies will likely be available in the main Central Library and the KB Library, and for purchase from a bookstore of your choice (e.g. Blackwells in Edinburgh, Amazon etc.). We also utilize relevant chapters from the 2014 Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere (IPCC 2019). While the textbook provides an ongoing and consistent backdrop to the course, we primarily engage with a preliminary set of core readings from academic journal articles as indicated below. In addition, we will provide further topical readings on the different biomes and case studies along the way, building a marine library for your use in this class and beyond.

A sample list of readings is listed below and will be available online or via LEARN in addition to the wider list set at the start of the course.

IOC UNESCO, IMO, FAO, UNDP (2011). A Blueprint for Ocean and Coastal Sustainability.
UN Sustainable Development Goals SDG No. 14 Life Under Water
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, et al. The Impact of Climate Change on the World's Marine Ecosystems. Science 328, 1523 (2010)
Charles, A. 2012. People, oceans and scale: governance, livelihoods and climate change adaptation in marine social, ecological systems. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. Vol 4: 351-357.
Jackson, J.B.C., et. al., 2001. Historical Overfishing and the Recent Collapse of Coastal Ecosystems. Science 293
Rocliffe, et al, 2014. Towards A Network of Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs) in the Western Indian Ocean. PLOS ONE Vol 9, Issue 7, e103000
Foale, S. et. al. 2011. Tenure and taboos: origins and implications for fisheries in the Pacific. Fish and Fisheries, 12, 357-369.
Donner and Webber, 2014. Obstacles to climate change adaptation decisions: a case study of SLR and coastal protection in Kiribati. Sustain Sci 9:331-345 DOI 10.1007/s11625-014-0242-z
Yamamoto, L. and, Miguel Esteban, M. 2010. Vanishing Island States and sovereignty. Ocean & Coastal Management 53 (2010) 1-9.
Levin, L. A. and Sibuet, M., 2012. Understanding Continental Margin Biodiversity:
A New Imperative. Annual Review Marine Science 2012. 4:8.1-8.34
Armstrong C.W., et. al., 2012. Services from the deep: steps towards valuation of deep-sea goods and services. Ecosystem Services 2 (2012) 2-13.
Roberts, et. al., 2006. Reefs of the Deep: The Biology and Geology of Cold-Water Coral Ecosystems. Science Vol 312 (543-547)
Dayton, P.K., M.J. Tegner, P.B. Edwards, and K.L. Riser (1998). Sliding Baselines, Ghosts, and Reduced Expectations in Kelp Forest Communities. Ecol. Appl., 8(2):309-322.
Schofield, et al 2010. How Do Polar Marine Ecosystems Respond to Rapid Climate Change? Science, Vol 328 1520-1522
Dodds K (2010) Governing Antarctica: Contemporary Challenges and the Enduring Legacy of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, Global Policy Vol.1(1)
Block, B.A., et al., 2011. Tracking apex marine predator movements in a dynamic ocean. Nature, Vol 475, 86-90.
Warner, R.M., 2014. Conserving marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction: co-evolution and interaction with the law of the sea. Frontiers in Marine Science, Vol 1, Article 6.
Wagner, et al, 2013. Big Ocean: A Shared Research Agenda for Large Scale MPAs.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Capacity to conduct context-based policy analysis to develop solutions for different settings and scales.
Writing brief critiques and reviews of key literature and policies.
Leadership and participation in group discussions on complex topics, scientific literature and examples.
Team based oral presentations and participation in an Abstracts Symposia.
Researching, constructing and delivering individual white paper, policy brief.

KeywordsMarine,coastal ocean ecosystems,biophysical processes and scales,marine policy and governance
Course organiserDr Sebastian Hennige
Tel: (0131 6)50 5410
Course secretaryMs Kathryn Will
Tel: (0131 6)50 2624
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