• Class Number 7481
  • Term Code 2960
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Christopher Fulton
    • AsPr Christopher Fulton
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/07/2019
  • Class End Date 25/10/2019
  • Census Date 31/08/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 29/07/2019
SELT Survey Results

Marine ecosystems play a crucial role in the health and function of our planet - from tiny plankton that shape global patterns of carbon and sulphur cycling, to massive coral reefs that support enormous biodiversity and feed millions of people. Once thought to be indestructible and inexhaustible, we now know that such marine communities are fragile and easily disturbed. In this course we will use both old and new concepts in marine ecology to explore how healthy marine ecosystems can be conserved in the face of human harvesting, habitat modification and climate change. Taking a problem-based approach, this course will examine key issues facing marine ecosystems (e.g., climate change, overfishing, biodiversity loss, ecosystem phase shifts) through lectures, hands-on practicals, workshops and assessments. Students will gain first-hand experience in the quantitative methods used to describe and assess approaches to marine conservation, as well as skills in science communication via novel assessment items such as the role-playing press conference and graphical abstract design.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Think critically, analyze and evaluate claims, evidence and arguments concerning marine environmental issues
  2. Collect, analyze and present marine ecological data
  3. Write scientific articles, environmental status reports and media releases
  4. Work and communicate as part of a research team
  5. Communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  6. Provide effective peer review of your colleague’s work
  7. Research current issues, interpret relevant legislation and frame solutions to problems facing Australia's marine resources

Research-Led Teaching

Drawing upon the latest research in marine conservation ecology, this course will introduce you to the latest research findings and provide hands-on training in the current techniques used to record, describe and assess human impacts on marine communities. Course assessments provide the opportunity to learn the skills needed to undertake marine research, resource management and analysis of government policy. We’ll also examine ways of visualizing research outcomes via electronic media, and use a role-playing media conference to develop skills in science communication (both written and spoken) to a diverse audience.

Lecture handouts will be periodically uploaded to WATTLE (https://wattle.anu.edu.au/). Please bring an electronic copy or your own hard copy printout to the relevant lecture, as hardcopies will not be provided. General course information, assignment information sheets, and workshop instruction sheets will also be available on WATTLE ahead of the scheduled time for that activity. You may also like to try these resources for information:

General Textbook

Connell SD, Gillanders BM (2007) Marine Ecology. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Note: Copies will be available in the reserve collection of the Hancock Library

Literature searches

Google Scholar http://scholar.google.com.au

ANU Library http://libguides.anu.edu.au/content.php?pid=405919&sid=3467071

Scopus http://www.scopus.com/

ISI Web of Knowledge  http://www.isiwebofknowledge.com/

Government websites

CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research http://www.cmar.csiro.au/

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries section http://www.agriculture.gov.au/fisheries

Australian Fisheries Management Authority http://www.afma.gov.au/

Fisheries Research & Development Corporation http://www.frdc.com.au/

Department of the Environment (DoE) http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/

DoE Marine Topics http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/marine

DoE Fisheries http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/marine/fisheries

DoE State of the Environment http://www.environment.gov.au/soe/2006/index.html

Taxonomy databases

FishBase http://www.fishbase.org/

AlgaeBase http://www.algaebase.org/

ReefBase http://www.reefbase.org/

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Weeks 1-3 Is climate change affecting marine ecosystems? Environmental Brief
2 Weeks 4-5 Do humans exert local impacts on marine ecosystems? Media Release & Conference
3 Weeks 6-7 Can fisheries be sustainable? Graphical Abstract
4 Weeks 8-10 Do marine reserves work? Workshops (class data)
5 Weeks 11-12 Are coral reefs doomed? Scientific Report

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Environmental Brief 15 % 14/08/2019 24/08/2019 1, 2, 3, 5, 7
Media Conference 15 % 20/08/2019 24/08/2019 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
Graphical Abstract 20 % 02/10/2019 12/10/2019 1, 2, 5, 6
Scientific Report 20 % 23/10/2019 02/11/2019 1, 2, 3, 4, 7
Theory Exam 30 % 31/10/2019 28/11/2019 1, 2, 7

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Group participation is required for the Media Conference. Online student participation is required for the anonymous peer review component of the Graphical Abstract.


The date range in the Assessment Summary indicates the start of the end of semester exam period and the date official end of semester results are released on ISIS. Please check the ANU final Examination Timetable http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/examination-timetable to confirm the date, time and location exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 14/08/2019
Return of Assessment: 24/08/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7

Environmental Brief

This assignment involves two components. Firstly, you will be organized into a group of 5-6 students and assigned a current issue facing Australia’s marine natural resources. While you may meet and discuss what you’ve found as a group, you must work individually on a written “Fact Check” style Environmental Brief on your assigned issue. You will be given an individual mark (worth 15% of total course mark) based on your written brief. More details on the topics, required format and marking rubric will be provided in Week 1 and on WATTLE. The second part of the assignment will take the form of a joint media release and conference, where you will work together on writing, presenting and answering questions about your media release in front of the class (see 2. Media Conference below for more details)

Assessment Task 2

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 20/08/2019
Return of Assessment: 24/08/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7

Media Conference

This is the second part of the Environmental Brief assessment task, where we will gather (details to be provided on Wattle) during the usual workshop session slot and each team will present their findings on their assigned environmental issue. You will be assessed on your individual performance (worth 5% total course marks according to your questions you pose in your assigned audience role), as well as group marks for the press conference performance and written media release (worth 10% total course marks).

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 02/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 12/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 5, 6

Graphical Abstract

Graphical Abstracts (GAs) are the concise visual representation of the key outcomes from a research article. GAs can be a powerful means to communicate to a diverse audience via multiple media (e.g. Twitter). The GA assignment will involve three steps: (i) You select a recent marine ecology research article (published within last 12 months) that is without a GA, then design and submit your own GA that conveys the key findings of the paper; (ii) Peer review of your GA by your fellow students will provide suggestions for revision; and then (iii) You draft a response to the peer reviews and submit with your final version of the GA, along with a brief reflective journal (<1,500 words) of the GA design and review process (guidelines and rubric for this are provided on WATTLE). You will be required to do reviews of two GAs by your fellow students (according to guidelines on WATTLE). Marks will be awarded for your GA final submission (worth 15% total course mark) and your peer reviews of other GAs (worth 5% total course mark). More details will be provided in the Visual Literacy workshop in week 6.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 23/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 02/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7

Scientific Report

Class data for the scientific report (worth 20% total course mark) will be explored in a series of three workshops where you will learn the statistical and presentation techniques needed to collect and analyze the data and complete the report. You should write the report according to the detailed guidelines and marking rubric (provided on WATTLE).

Assessment Task 5

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 31/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 7

Theory Exam

Detailed guidance on the theory exam format will be provided in the final lecture of Week 12. Students should anticipate being available for the whole scheduled examination period. The exam cannot be sat in advance.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Written electronic feedback will be provided on each assessment submitted via Turnitin, which we aim to return within 3 weeks of the due dates noted above. The date of feedback release will be announded via the WATTLE news forum. For hard copy assignments that were not submitted via Turnitin, the marked hard copy will be available for collection from BTLC Office, Room 102 Gould Building 116. The exact return date will be posted on Wattle. You will be required to bring your University ID card when picking up the assignment.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Not permitted.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
AsPr Christopher Fulton

Research Interests

Marine biology, ecology, conservation

AsPr Christopher Fulton

AsPr Christopher Fulton

Research Interests

AsPr Christopher Fulton


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