3 ECTS credits
90 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 4023639DNR for all students in the 2nd semester at a (D) Master - preliminary level.

2nd semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method
Grading (scale from 0 to 20)
Can retake in second session
Taught in
Partnership Agreement
Under interuniversity agreement for degree program
Faculty of Sciences and Bioengineering Sciences
External partners
Universiteit Gent
Universiteit Antwerpen
Educational team
Natacha Brion (course titular)
Activities and contact hours
5 contact hours Lecture
32 contact hours Seminar, Exercises or Practicals
8 contact hours Independent or External Form of Study
Course Content

The objective of this multidisciplinary fieldtrip in estuaries is to offer students a broad overview of the biological and geochemical characteristics of estuarine systems. 

Estuaries are important transition zones between freshwater river systems and marine systems. Marine tidal waves propagate inland along the river channels creating diurnal cycles of variable water levels, but also salinity gradients by the progressive mixing of marine salty waters with river freshwaters. These very special environmental characteristics trigger unique plant and animal population and species distribution as well as biogeochemical functioning. This field-course focus on the characterization of phytoplankton, benthic organisms (macrobenthos and microphytobenthos), and basic biogeochemical variables such as nutrients, suspended solids, temperature, conductivity, pH, in the Scheldt Estuary. For 5 days, students will participate to a fieldtrip (either 2 days onboard of RV Belgica, either 3 days of roadtrip sampling) with sampling of water, sediments (tidal marshes), and phytoplankton, perform laboratory analyses in small groups, analyze their results and finally discuss and present their findings. 

Additional info

Requirements:  basic knowledge in chemistry, biology and ecology. Insight in the most important estuarine processes. 

Learning Outcomes

General A

1. Knowledge in multidisciplinary estuarine studies (ref 1. Knowledge in the field of marine and lacustrine studies, advanced knowledge in one of the subdisciplines and in the interaction of the various subdisciplines within the broader field of application). 

2. Advanced practical skills in the sampling, sample treatment and chemical and biological analyses of estuarine samples (ref 6. Advanced and thorough practical skills in field research, experimental research, research in a laboratory context and in processing data, in order to solve scientific questions). 

3. Advanced skills for teamwork, task division, and result integration towards a research question (ref 7. Advanced organizational skills in relation to research (teamwork, task division, development and logistics of a research approach)). 

4. Communicative skills regarding group research results towards peers (ref 8. Communicative skills regarding (personal) research results to specialists as well as nonspecialists, using various adapted media and formats). 


The final grade is composed based on the following categories:
Other Exam determines 100% of the final mark.

Within the Other Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Exam Other with a relative weight of 1 which comprises 100% of the final mark.

Additional info regarding evaluation

Students will be evaluated on their active participation during fieldwork and laboratory sessions; on their oral presentation of results and on their ability to lead multidisciplinary discussions with their peers on the topics discussed during fieldtrips and labwork. 

In case of non-fulfillment of competence requirements during the first examination period, a second examination period is possible. For the second examination period, the student will be given a special assignment on topics discussed during the field trips. 

Allowed unsatisfactory mark
The supplementary Teaching and Examination Regulations of your faculty stipulate whether an allowed unsatisfactory mark for this programme unit is permitted.

Academic context

This offer is part of the following study plans:
Master of Marine and Lacustrine Science and Management: Standaard traject