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National Marine Science Centre Coffs Harbour
Online

Unit Summary

Unit type

UG Coursework Unit

Credit points

12

AQF level

7

Level of learning

Intermediate

Unit aim

Introduces students to the major types of coastal marine habitat, from estuaries, intertidal shores, rocky and coral reefs, to show their basic structure and the processes that maintain them as recognisable entities. In addition, this unit builds on the basic knowledge acquired in the Biology and Ecology units of the first year to survey the major groups of marine animals and plants and show their roles in the maintenance of marine habitats. The practical work includes field trips to mangroves, seagrass, rocky shore and sediment habitats. It includes boat work to sample plankton and benthos.

Unit content

The following topics will be covered by the study guide, textbook and Internet readings and lectures and are assessed by two online quizzes and a final exam:
Global ocean systems and Australian marine biogeography
Estuarine habitats including seagrasses, mangroves and saltmarshes
The pelagic environment: plankton, fish and other nekton
Sedimentary habitats
Rocky habitats
Coral reefs

The following marine taxonomy topics are for self-directed study and are covered by the Practical Handbook, supported by recommended reference books and on-line resources. They will be assessed in the online quizzes and final exam and reinforced by field exercises: - polychaetes and other worms - molluscs - crustaceans - echinoderms - cnidarians and ctenophores - sessile phyla: sponges, ascidians and bryozoans - marine Plants: macroalgae, mangroves, saltmarshes and seagrasses. All students will be expected to contribute to a group seminar presentation on a marine species of concern to Australian marine resource managers. Field trips include collection of plankton, a tour of estuarine habitats, sampling of intertidal and subtidal benthos and quantifying open coast rocky shore zonation patterns.

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

GA1: , GA2: , GA3: , GA4: , GA5: , GA6: , GA7:
On completion of this unit, students should be able to: GA1 GA2 GA3 GA4 GA5 GA6 GA7
1 identify the major taxa of marine organisms and recognise local examples
2 demonstrate an understanding of the basic organisation and function of the major coastal marine habitats and communities and relate this to issues in marine resource management
3 plan and conduct sampling programs of marine organisms in a variety of habitats and to present their findings in a variety of formats.

On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. identify the major taxa of marine organisms and recognise local examples
    • GA4:
    • GA5:
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the basic organisation and function of the major coastal marine habitats and communities and relate this to issues in marine resource management
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA5:
  3. plan and conduct sampling programs of marine organisms in a variety of habitats and to present their findings in a variety of formats.
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA5:

Prescribed texts

  • Sverdrup, KA & Kudela, RM, 2020, Investigating Oceanography (International Student Edition), 3rd ed, McGraw-Hill Education, New York, USA. ISBN: 978-1-260-56603-1.
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.