2019-2020 / OCEA0160-1

Techniques of sampling in marine ecology


15h Th

Number of credits

 Master in oceanography (120 ECTS)3 crédits 


Sylvie Gobert

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The field sampling in marine environment is not easy. Some variables have to be considered: wave exposure, depth, substratum type and slope, topographical heterogeneity, salinity and the degree of human or natural perturbation. The available material (boat, nets...); budget,... The steps in designing a field sampling program include:

  • Identifying the study goals including the questions to be answered by the study or the hypothesis to be tested.
  • Developing an effective and statistically powerful study design.
These steps are followed by selecting study sites, the biological units to be sampled, the sampling design, lay out, and units to be employed, and the type of data to be obtained.
This course aims at introducing some general methodologies for marine ecological baseline surveys. It provides the general concepts and considerations for various standard survey methods like: Site selection, Sampling Design (adapted to Baseline, Impact or Monitoring studies)

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The student will be able

  • to design an experimental protocol
  • to write and present it with:
A chief scientist, a budget, the sponsors, employers A sampling plan with clear objectives, An identification of the scientific responsibilities of the consortium A statement and prioritization of study objectives A description of study area (including background information and station locations)  An identification of variables to be measured, containers and preservatives required A specification of analytical methods and data reporting requirements An identification of all quality control samples to be submitted with analytical samples A brief description of sampling equipment and methods, including station positioning technique A specific standard operating procedures addressing the collection of representative samples A proposed cruise schedule (including time, date and location of embarkation and debarkation, sample storage, handling, shipping and custom duty A survey vessel requirements (e.g., size, laboratory needs, sample storage needs) The health and safety of the sampling team The ethical aspects (protected species, lab experiments with vertebrates..) The Bibliography...

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

To speak and understand English
A good basic knowledge on Biology
A good basic knowledge in Marine Ecology

Planned learning activities and teaching methods


  • Courses dedicated to theoretical aspects
  • Talks of invited researchers
  • A field trip in Corsica (For MER students)

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

Courses in face-to-face.
The attention of the student is regularly requested during tutorial classes
Field trip at STARESO (Calvi-Corse) (MER students).

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 ppts are accessible on myUlg or given at the end of each course.

Assessment methods and criteria

The evaluation is based on :
A dissertation (10 minutes) on an experimental protocol (subject define with the professor). The presentation is graded not only on its content but also on its quality , clarity, respect of the timing.
To help you:

  • I will be your guide (courses, books...)
  • The field trip at STARESO (MER Students)
  • Presentation of researchers of my lab
  • The scientific posters
orbi: http://orbi.ulg.ac.be/ PublicationSylvieGobert

Work placement(s)

A field trip in Corsica (October 2016 for MER students)

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   https://www.facebook.com/oceanbioulg/ http://labos.ulg.ac.be/oceanologie/ http://www.stareso.ulg.ac.be/

  • 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@uliege.be. 
  • My malbox is in the room 2/48.
  • We ask for your co-operation with these regulations.