2019-2020 / OCEA0019-1

Biological oceanology


30h Th, 8d FW

Number of credits

 Master in oceanography (120 ECTS)6 crédits 


Sylvie Gobert

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The biological oceanography investigates the ecology of marine organisms in the context of the physical, chemical, and geological characteristics of their ocean environment. It is closely aligned with marine biology, though the latter has more emphasis on the biology of individual marine organisms.
Outline contents:

  • Introduction
  • The Oceanography at the University of Liege
  • Definitions and topography: oceans , sea
  • Caractéristiques physiques et chimiques des océans (température, lumière, salinité, courants...); variations bathymétriques, saisonnières, spatiales
  • Distribution verticale et horizontale des organismes.
  • Biomass, production, productivity
  • A case study: the Calvi Bay.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit


Prerequisite knowledge and skills

To speak and understand french language
A good knowledge of the basis described  in Physical and Chemical Oceanography and in Marine Ecology

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

*Half of the courses are dedicated to theoretical aspects, the other one dedicated to tutorial classes (study of documents, video).
*A visit to the museum,
*The equivalent of sixteen half-days during the internship(training course) of ground (the methods of takings, study of the distribution(casting) of the bodies planctoniques (phyto, zoo) and nectoniques in connection with the physical and chemical structure of the bodies of water).

Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning)

Courses in face-to-face, in french
The attention of the student is regularly requested during tutorial classes, visits of museum.
Field trip at STARESO (Calvi-Corse).
The supports are essentially in french; some video, scientific papers, ... are proposed in english, the course is given in french.

Recommended or required readings

The ppt constitute the basis of the course, they contain the essential information and not all of the oral comments given during the course.

The ppt are accessible on myUlg or given at the end of each course. Some parts of ppts, videos, articles are in English but the whole course is given in French.

Assessment methods and criteria

The evaluation is based on 3 parts:
1. A dissertation of 15 minutes based on one chapter of the books Biological Oceanography Charles B. Miller, Patricia A. Wheeler (2nd edition) April 2012, ©2012, Wiley-Blackwell and Marine Biology by Levinton (2017) (20 % of the total score). The presentation is graded not only on its content but also on its quality , clarity, respect of the timing.
2. An oral exam. (60 % of the total score) (2 questions).
3. A practical exam (20 % of the total score).

Work placement(s)

Field trip
During the field trip (station STARESO of the University of Liège- Calvi Corsica) the concepts to a practical study of the distribution of pelagic and benthic organisms in relation to the physiscal and chemical structure of the water masses are applied.
These approaches are made from a boat (net, CTD, bottles Niskin), in snorkelling, in scuba diving* followed by determinations under binocular, photographic documents taken by the student, by the spectrophotometry...
* not compulsory

Organizational remarks

  • Respect class times. 
  • If you contact the secretary or the professor by e-mail,  do not expect the replies to be immediate. Please, be patient.
  • University-assigned student e-mail is the Official means of communication with all students.


Prof Sylvie Gobert Océanologie Institut de Chimie. B6c-2/49 Tél: 04 3663329 e-mail:sylvie.gobert@uliege.be                           Secretariat M Lunetta: 04 366 50 62


  • Meeting with my secretary: Mrs Mariella Lunetta is in her office  (B6C, room 1/21 , Sart Tilman) the Tuesday from 8:30 -10:30 am and the Thursday from 13:30-15:00 pm.
  • Meeting with me: I will make time available during and directly after the classes for your questions. I rarely can be available for unscheduled meeting. To make appointment , call 04 366 50 62 (Mrs Lunetta) or send an email: M.Lunetta@ulg.ac.be. 
  • My mailbox is in the room 2/48.
  • We ask for your co-operation with these regulations.