ENVB40030 Bioassessment of Freshwaters

Academic Year 2021/2022

This module considers global water quality challenges and focuses primarily on bioassessment methods used in their assessment. Of particular relevance is the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) and similar legislation in other regions that requires that water quality be assessed primarily on the basis of biological criteria. This course focuses on these requirements and challenges. Concepts and issues explored include ecosystem health/integrity, stress factors, reference or ecological target conditions, physical habitat description, lake and river typologies, monitoring using fish, invertebrates and plants, rapid bioassessment assessment protocols, biological indicators; sub-lethal stress indicators, analyses and interpretation of macroinvertebrates data, 'hindcasting' methods, biotic metrics and indices, multimetric and multivariate approaches to bioassessment.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:
- articulate global water quality challenges;
- appreciate and demonstrate an understanding of the requirement of the Water Framework Directive (WFD);
- recognise the ecological basis of the WFD requirements;
- indicate the challenges of the WFD;
- source and review ongoing research to address knowledge gaps;
- evaluate and critically appraise progress of EU member states in relation to WFD;
- select appropriate indicators, methods and metrics to assessment anthropogenic pressures on freshwaters;
- design a water quality monitoring programme.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module will use a combination of online and face-to-face lectures to cover the topics outlined. The online material will prepare students for a number of in-class tasks that aim to help understanding and application of the material covered. The two assignments will provide practical training in:
(1) communication of freshwater scientific information to the non-specialist
(2) application of ecological-based metrics to assess water quality 
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
Examination: 3000 word essay on specified topic Unspecified No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Continuous Assessment: The students will produce an infographic, complete self test quizzes and undertake an exercise on bioassessment metrics. Throughout the Trimester n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be provided within 20 days of completing each assignment

Name Role
Ms Elizabeth Conroy Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 9, 10, 11, 12 Fri 14:00 - 14:50
Workshop Offering 1 Week(s) - 9, 10, 12 Thurs 11:00 - 11:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 9, 10, 11, 12 Thurs 12:00 - 12:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 9, 10, 11, 12 Tues 11:00 - 11:50