BOTN40270 Biology and Ecology of Coastal Wetlands

Academic Year 2022/2023

Coastal wetlands play a disproportionally large role in the global carbon cycle due to their high primary productivity and unique ability to trap sediments. The carbon stored in vegetated coastal wetlands (including tidal marshes, seagrass beds and mangrove forests) has been termed “blue carbon”. In addition to carbon storage, coastal wetlands provide numerous ecosystem services such as coastal protection from storm-surge and sea-level rise. This module will examine the formation and function of blue carbon habitats and assess how global change factors such as rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature are affecting plant productivity and plant species composition. We will also assess carbon accounting and restoration activities for these habitats globally.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students will be able to:
- Understand the processes controlling coastal wetland formation
- Recognise the importance of plant species physiological adaptations and plant species composition and zonation
- Understand the biogeochemical cycling of carbon and nitrogen in coastal wetlands
- Evaluate the effect of global change factors such as elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature on the biology and ecology of coastal wetlands
- Evaluate the carbon accounting and restoration activities taking place in blue carbon habitats
- Evaluate international policy relating to blue carbon habitats

Indicative Module Content:

The key topics that will be addressed are:
1. Coastal wetland formation and function
2. Plant species adaptations
3. Plant species composition and zonation
4. Carbon and nitrogen cycling
5. Effect of global change factors
6. International policy on blue carbon habitats

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The key teaching and learning approaches used in this module are: lectures, peer and group work, case-based learning, critical writing and reflective learning. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: Essay integrating themes and concepts from the lectures Unspecified n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Assignment: Critique of Scientific Paper and Policy Brief Varies over the Trimester n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Dr Andrea Fuchs Tutor