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National Marine Science Centre Coffs Harbour Session 2 Session 2

Unit Summary

Unit type

UG Coursework Unit

Credit points

12

AQF level

7

Level of learning

Advanced

Pre-requisites

Completion of 16 units (192 credit points) from the Bachelor of Environmental Science or the Bachelor of Marine Science & Management

Unit aim

Examines local and ocean climate systems and the way humans are altering the global climate, the impact that this may have on individual organisms and ecosystems, and the capacity for organisms to acclimatise or adapt to these changes. Specifically examines changes in the oceans carbon cycle, ocean acidification and ocean warming. Examines how marine organisms and communities may be affected by, adapt and acclimatise to ocean acidification and warming. Examines how overharvesting and habitat alteration is causing unprecedented shifts in marine biodiversity and community structure.

Unit content

Topic 1 The marine CaCO3 cycle and ocean acidification

Topic 2 Biological impacts of ocean acidification

  • Effect on invertebrates, early life histories and natural variation
  • Fish and behaviour
  • Seaweeds
  • Ecological interactions

Topic 3 Laboratory Practical 1: Effect of ocean acidification on growth and feeding by herbivores

Topic 4 Climate weather and warming

  • The greenhouse effect
  • Major greenhouse gases
  • Radiative forcing
  • Emission trends and predictions
  • Ocean warming and the EAC
  • Winds and currents
  • El Niño/La Niña

Topic 5 Laboratory Practical 2: Effects of ocean acidification and warming on early development of sea urchins

Topic 6 Biological effects of warming

Three universal effects of climate change:

  • Effect 1: Shifts in distribution – sea urchins, fish and seaweeds
  • Effect 2: Changes in phenology – Warming and metabolic theory – Bergmann's rule – Temperature size rule
  • Effect 3: Declining body size – Sea ice retreat

Topic 7 Interactions between warming and acidification

Topic 8 Oxygen minimum zones

Topic 9 Other stressors: Trophic downgrading and shifting baselines

Topic 10 Acclimation and adaptation

Topic 11Seaweeds, bacteria and warming

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 an understanding of ocean carbonate cycle
2 explain the reasons for and possible effects of ocean acidification on marine invertebrates, fish, seaweeds and species interactions
3 discuss the theoretical basis for the impact of global warming on marine organisms and the three predicted universal responses of climate change on marine organisms
4 critically discuss the diversity of marine microbial organisms and how they might respond to a changing ocean climate
5 examine how multiple stressors are eroding the diversity and function of marine ecosystems
6 design, conduct, analyse and interpret manipulative laboratory experiments in relation to marine biology.

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

  1. demonstrate an understanding of ocean carbonate cycle
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA5:
  2. explain the reasons for and possible effects of ocean acidification on marine invertebrates, fish, seaweeds and species interactions
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA5:
  3. discuss the theoretical basis for the impact of global warming on marine organisms and the three predicted universal responses of climate change on marine organisms
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA5:
  4. critically discuss the diversity of marine microbial organisms and how they might respond to a changing ocean climate
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA5:
  5. examine how multiple stressors are eroding the diversity and function of marine ecosystems
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA5:
  6. design, conduct, analyse and interpret manipulative laboratory experiments in relation to marine biology.
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA5:

Prescribed texts

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