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National Marine Science Centre Coffs Harbour Session 3 Session 3

Unit Summary

Unit type

PG Coursework Unit

Credit points

12

AQF level

9

Level of learning

Advanced

Unit aim

Provides field-based learning approaches to studying coral reef ecology and management. Field training includes quantitative reef benthic and fish community surveys. Examines natural dynamism and the complex ecology of coral reef ecosystems, and their responses to disturbance. Highlights key management issues including climate change and the global reef loss.

Unit content

1. Introduction to coral reef ecology and key management  issues
2. Reef origins, geomorphology and dynamism
3. Biology, reproduction, growth and ecology of coral communities
4. Algal builders and diversity of primary productivity on coral reefs
5. Secondary production and trophic pathways on coral reefs
6. Reef biodiversity and symbiosis on coral reefs
7. Reef fish communities and their management
8. Natural disturbance and reef resilience
9. Human impacts on coral reefs and reef degradation
10. Coral bleaching, climate change and global reef loss
11. Coral reef management issues and future scenarios for coral reefs

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 summarise key aspects of the biology and ecology of coral reef ecosystems and explain coral reef formation.
2 identify and classify important species and higher level taxa of corals, fish, algae and other reef organisms occurring on the Great Barrier Reef and explain their ecological roles.
3 distinguish major ecological processes within coral reef ecosystems and explain their natural dynamism.
4 discriminate between natural and human-induced disturbance impacts on coral reefs.
5 analyse and interpret quantitative studies of coral reef communities.
6 integrate the use of ecological information as an essential tool in management of coral reefs.
7 critically analyse the global status of coral reef ecosystems, and formulate appropriate reef management strategies in response to current and predicted future impacts.

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

  1. summarise key aspects of the biology and ecology of coral reef ecosystems and explain coral reef formation.
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA5:
  2. identify and classify important species and higher level taxa of corals, fish, algae and other reef organisms occurring on the Great Barrier Reef and explain their ecological roles.
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA5:
  3. distinguish major ecological processes within coral reef ecosystems and explain their natural dynamism.
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
  4. discriminate between natural and human-induced disturbance impacts on coral reefs.
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
  5. analyse and interpret quantitative studies of coral reef communities.
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA6:
  6. integrate the use of ecological information as an essential tool in management of coral reefs.
    • GA1:
    • GA2:
    • GA4:
    • GA5:
  7. critically analyse the global status of coral reef ecosystems, and formulate appropriate reef management strategies in response to current and predicted future impacts.
    • GA1:
    • GA2:
    • GA3:
    • GA4:
    • GA5:
    • GA7:

Prescribed texts

  • No prescribed texts.
Prescribed texts may change in future teaching periods.