• Offered by Research School of Earth Sciences
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Earth and Marine Science
  • Areas of interest Earth and Marine Sciences, Marine Biology, Environmental Science

This intensive field course aims to provide students with advanced knowledge of modern and fossil carbonate environments, and the role of biological processes in reef building and erosion. It complements EMSC3023 Marine Biogeochemistry and BIOL3116 Marine Ecology, and is for students seeking a profession in marine science, environmental science or geochemistry. Several days will be spent at a coral reef location studying a modern reefal setting, fossil reef depositional environments and relevant biological processes. Activities will include both advanced lectures and field surveys.

This course has a limited enrolment and permission is required to enrol in this course. Please register interest by emailing the course convener or student.admin.rses@anu.edu.au (it is advisable to to this before the end of semester 1).

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Recognise and map different environments and bio-zones on a carbonate reef platform.
  2. Apply field techniques used to describe and assess carbonate reef ecosystems.
  3. Produce maps of the reef flat.
  4. Gain a working knowledge of how to measure carbonate chemistry in the field.
  5. Describe the history of deposition of carbonate reef platforms over Holocene time.
  6. Demonstrate understanding of basic biological processes of coral reefs.
  7. Identify the major issues facing the future of carbonate reef ecosystems and the strategies that may be used to address these threats.

Other Information

The field trip is usually held in late November / December (Spring Session) or early January (Summer Session) with a location of either One Tree Island or Heron Island, Queensland. 

The field trip costs $800 plus return transport to Gladstone in addition to normal course fees. Field trip costs can be paid via Scienceshop

This course has a limited enrolment (21) and permission is required to enrol in this course. Please register interest by emailing the course convener or student.admin.rses@anu.edu.au (it is advisable to to this before the end of semester 1). Students are selected on merit basis with priority given to those in final year of program who require this course to graduate.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Research Report (40) [LO 1,2,3]
  2. Field map (30) [LO 1,2,3]
  3. Theory examination (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7]
  4. Project Oral Presentation (10) [LO 2,5,6,7]
  5. Note: To complete the course students must attend the field trip and complete the three on-course assessment tasks. All assessment items are hurdle assessments for the course. (null) [LO null]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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This is an intensive field course to be held either in November/December or early in January. Students are expected to work individually and in groups.

The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the session including:

  • 1 week field trip.
  • Approximately 70 hours of self-study which will include assessment tasks to be completed after the field trip.

Inherent Requirements

Not yet determined.

Requisite and Incompatibility

Incompatible with EMSC6119

You will need to contact the Research School of Earth Sciences to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4050
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Summer Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
1625 22 Jan 2021 05 Feb 2021 05 Feb 2021 31 Mar 2021 In Person View

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