Coastal Environments and Processes (GEOS3009)


The aim of this course is to introduce students to a variety of Coastal Environments and the major physical and chemical processes which control the morphodynamic evolution of these systems. The course offers a unique opportunity of learning the full spectrum of marine sedimentary environments from siliciclastic, temperate, highly urbanised and impacted estuarine ecosytems to carbonate, tropical, pristine and undeveloped/protected coastal and continental margin environments. The course may include field work in temperate environments and at One Tree Island, Heron Island, or Orphus Island on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The two parts of the course comprise physical processes in siliciclastic (temperate) and carbonate-dominated (tropical) coastal and continental margin environments. The first part of the course covers basic coastal environments and processes in estuarine and open coast environments and focuses on the morphodynamics of those environments, a fieldtrip to an open beach within Sydney is envisaged where students will learn basic skills for beach monitoring. The second part of the course covers the basic morphodynamics and processes impacting carbonate-dominated coastal and continental margin environments. The focus is on carbonate reefal and margin systems and their geologic and biologic responses to past, present and future environmental changes. These systems may also be studied in the field at The University of Sydney One Tree Island Research Station in the GBR and in some practicals Students who are unable participate in the GBR field trip will be given an alternative assignment.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Two 1 hour lectures and one 2 hour practical per week; weekend excursion.


One 2 hour exam, research reports and an online quiz (100%)


Short, A D (ed) Beach and Shoreface Morphodynamics. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester. 1999.
Course notes will be available from the Photocopy Centre and/or online.

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


(6 credit points of Intermediate Geoscience units) and (6 further credit points of Intermediate Geoscience or 6 credit points of Physics or Mathematics or Information Technology or Engineering units) or ((MARS2005 or MARS2905) and (MARS2006 or MARS2906))


GEOS3909 or MARS3003 or MARS3105

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.