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National Marine Science Centre Coffs Harbour Session 2 Session 2

Unit Summary

Unit type

PG Coursework Unit

Credit points

12

AQF level

9

Level of learning

Advanced

Unit aim

This unit introduces students to the biology, ecology, threats, conservation, management of human impacts and the ecological importance of cetaceans and other marine mammals, based on international research, and field and case studies in the local region. It will enable students to understand major issues and the nature of research, conservation planning, and management vital for the continued survival and recovery of cetaceans and other marine mammal populations.

Unit content

  1. Marine mammal groups, taxonomy, anatomical adaptations and evolution
  2. Biology and ecology of cetaceans and other marine mammals, reproductive biology, migrations, populations
  3. Physiology, acoustic communication, diet and nutrition, and adaptations to the marine environment
  4. Population ecology of marine mammals
  5. Social structure and behaviour among cetaceans
  6. Human threats to marine mammals, including the history of whaling, harvesting and current threats
  7. Strandings and necropsy studies, including common pathogens
  8. Research techniques including photographic identification, population models, acoustical techniques, databases and research ethics
  9. Tourism and interactions between marine mammals and humans
  10. Global status of cetaceans
  11. Management and conservation planning for cetaceans and other marine mammals

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 demonstrate understanding of the taxonomy, anatomy, biology including physiology and reproductive biology, ecology, migrations, and evolution of marine mammals, and their ecological roles in the marine environment
2 analyse past and present threats to whales, dolphins, seals and dugongs and how these can be managed
3 understand the importance and nature of social structure in cetaceans and the role of acoustic and other communications in maintaining this social structure
4 describe the main types of human interactions with marine mammals and how they can be managed
5 identify the common cetaceans occurring in coastal waters off eastern Australia
6 analyse the risks posed to marine mammals by human activities such as whaling, fisheries, habitat loss, shipping, pollution, tourism and climate change
7 demonstrate understanding of how marine mammals are managed and the legislation governing their protection, including important issues in their conservation, management of strandings and causes of mortality.

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

  1. demonstrate understanding of the taxonomy, anatomy, biology including physiology and reproductive biology, ecology, migrations, and evolution of marine mammals, and their ecological roles in the marine environment
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA6:
  2. analyse past and present threats to whales, dolphins, seals and dugongs and how these can be managed
    • GA1:
    • GA2:
    • GA4:
  3. understand the importance and nature of social structure in cetaceans and the role of acoustic and other communications in maintaining this social structure
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA6:
  4. describe the main types of human interactions with marine mammals and how they can be managed
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA7:
  5. identify the common cetaceans occurring in coastal waters off eastern Australia
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA5:
  6. analyse the risks posed to marine mammals by human activities such as whaling, fisheries, habitat loss, shipping, pollution, tourism and climate change
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA5:
  7. demonstrate understanding of how marine mammals are managed and the legislation governing their protection, including important issues in their conservation, management of strandings and causes of mortality.
    • GA1:
    • GA3:
    • GA4:
    • GA7:

Prescribed texts

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