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Course content

Integrative Marine Data Skills

This MSc programme is delivered by the International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT) at our Orkney Campus. It has been designed to promote an integrated, participatory approach to nurture and strengthen quantitative skills in science and environmental graduates using locally relevant issues. It will build a broad understanding of marine ecosystems, ecosystem services and associated management issues. Teaching is strongly reinforced with laboratory, fieldwork and project work, with emphasis placed on simulating real work situations. Strong links with industry partners, policy-makers and regulators ensure relevance within this sector. It will produce students who are quantitatively competent and literate, capable of interpreting and communicating findings, with work-ready skills (field and industry) to facilitate employment in a competitive marketplace where demand for data-savvy students is high.

Course content

Semester 1:

Advanced Research Skills 1 – Data Collecting and Handling (core)
Data is increasingly important in today’s society with huge quantities generated by the maritime sector to address a range of environmental and economically important issues. However, a specific set of skills are required to handle, extract, manipulate, analyse and communicate these data sets. Students will collect data across three platforms: shoreline, oceanic and remote, providing work-ready technical, laboratory and field skills. This course will build quantitative confidence and competency, providing graduates with the skills essential to understanding, responding to, and mitigating today’s environmental challenges.

Advanced Research Skills 2 – Statistical and Numerical Techniques (core)
The ability to problem-solve, think critically and apply mathematics has been severely eroded across education sectors, with this deficit being transferred to the working environment. Skills in numeracy, data mining, data management and modelling have been highlighted as being in demand. This course will utilise environmentally relevant, local long-term data sets collected in Advanced Research Skills 1 to strengthen skills in data analysis using a range of methods. This course is not targeting students with a strong numerical or modelling background, instead it aims to build confidence with analytical techniques and provide a broad, yet solid depth of knowledge.

Oceanography and Marine Ecology (core)
This course will give an understanding of the science of waves and tides, and how this affects efforts to exploit energy from these resources and to develop other maritime industries. The challenges and impacts associated with engineering operations in the marine environment are examined. Marine ecosystems and ecosystems services are also studied and how these are impacted by human activities.

Introduction to Marine Planning (core)
Introduces students to the emerging policy and practice of marine planning (global and regional). It examines political, jurisdictional and rights issues in the introduction of economic activities into the marine commons (the ‘Blue Growth Agenda’). The framework of marine legislation is explained and methods of conflict resolution are explored. A series of international case studies will identify the various tools and techniques being used around the world to manage human activity and balance conservation interests with demands for economic growth.

Semester 2:

Case Study and Project Design (core)
This course will facilitate the interpretation and communication of data and promote teamwork skills and engagement with a broad range of end-users, fostering responsive management skills. It is an essential follow-on core component from Advanced Research Skills 1 and 2 in Semester 1 to further consolidate the quantitative learning experience and promote synergies with local industry, stake-holders and communities. The course will capitalise on the strong networks already in place at ICIT with staff, local industry and community groups.

GIS for Marine and Environmental Scientists (optional)
Geographic Information System mapping is a tool which is now widely used by both developers and regulators in the management and development of marine resources. Within the context of Marine Spatial Planning the use of GIS has rapidly become the standard means of collating and analysing spatial information regarding resource use. This course will explain the principles and provide hands-on experience of applying state of the art mapping software in project based case studies.

Environmental Policy and Risk (optional)
This course explores the legal and policy context of marine governance. You will gain an understanding of international law, particularly the Law of the Sea, property rights and how these relate to different energy resources. The course examines regulatory issues at the international, European and UK level, as well as risk assessment and management in the context of marine developments. A practical EIA exercise is undertaken.

Practical Skills in Marine Surveying (optional)
Students entering employment in marine conservation or marine resource management are often required to plan or manage surveys of the marine environment in the role of either client or contractor. Diving is often the most effective method for conducting surveys to monitor or map marine biota. This course will provide students with the requisite knowledge for designing and managing such projects utilising scientific diving techniques.

Marine Environmental Monitoring (optional)
This course will provide an understanding of: the scientific background of natural processes in estuarine and coastal environments as a necessary prerequisite for understanding monitoring and management; the fundamentals of the design and applications of environmental monitoring programmes; the role of impact assessment in resource management, conservation and pollution control and legal framework supporting this process; and the importance of the scientific dimension underpinning estuarine and coastal management.

Tropical Coral Reefs: Monitoring and Management Field Course (Malaysia) (optional)
(Additional fee for flights and subsistence)
Students will experience different techniques used for surveying and monitoring coral reefs, to provide an understanding of the sampling and other issues which influence choice of method. It will provide students with an impression of the environmental pressures affecting reef habitats as a result of climate change, tourism related development, and of the range of management measures which may be introduced to promote sustainable use of reef resources. It will familiarise students with the main forms of fish, coral and invertebrates which characterise reefs. In addition, the course gives the chance to examine other marine habitats that are often closely inter-related with reefs: e.g. sea-grass beds.

More information:

https://www.hw.ac.uk/uk/orkney.htm
https://www.hw.ac.uk/schools/energy-geoscience-infrastructure-society/research/icit/orkney.htm
https://www.hw.ac.uk/study/why/our-rankings.htm

Fees and Scholarships

https://www.hw.ac.uk/study/fees/scholarships-bursaries.htm

Visit the Integrative Marine Data Skills MSc/Diploma page on the Heriot-Watt University website for more details!

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