Coral Reefs, Science and Management (MARS5006)


This unit provides an in - depth overview of the key biological and non-biological processes that make up coral reef ecosystems. There is a focus on the biogeographic, oceanographic and physiological processes underlying the integrity of global tropical reef systems. The Great Barrier Reef is used as a case study to explore emerging concepts on the influence of natural and anthropogenic processes on the integrity of global coral reef ecosystems. Learning activities will include a series of background lectures and research seminars and tutorials in the development of a major research project. A major aspect of this unit is an independent research project conducted under the supervision of the course instructors. The unit concludes with a series of oral presentations based on student research. Assessment tasks will consist of one essay, essay topic presentation and a research project report and presentation. The curriculum in this unit is based on current research and course notes will be provided. This is a field intensive course held at One Tree Island Research Station. The course is ex-Gladstone Queensland and students are expected to make their own way there. The field component of the unit will be run over 4-6 days and there will be an additional course fee for transport, food and accommodation, expected to be $700.

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Further unit of study information


University base delivery: prefield trip tutorial (1-hour), twelve lectures (1-hour each). Field based delivery: two seminars (1-hour each), two tutorials - individual consultations to develop concepts in research (1-hour each), independent research and oral presentation.


Written assignments: essay and project report; oral presentations; seminar and lecture participation (100%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Assumed knowledge

This unit assumes a sound understanding of scientific principles, HSC level mathematics and understanding of basic statistics.

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.