• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Biology
  • Areas of interest Marine Biology
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

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.

Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but are assessed separately.

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, analyse and evaluate claims, evidence and arguments concerning marine environmental issues
  2. Collect, analyse 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 colleagues’ work
  7. Research current issues, interpret relevant legislation and frame solutions to problems facing Australia's marine resources

    Indicative Assessment

    Assessment will be based on:  
    • Scientific Report (20%): You will collect data as a class, make your own analysis and evaluation of the data-based evidence, then present your findings in a scientific article that will incorporate a comprehensive and critical literature  review on the report topic (LO 1, 2, 3, 4).
    • Graphical Abstract (20%): You will select a current scientific article in marine ecology and design a graphical abstract that illustrates the main findings of the paper in a single picture that is understandable to a broad audience (LO 1, 5). You will also provide effective comments to help your fellow students design their Graphical Abstracts via an anonymous peer review process (LO 6).
    • Environmental Brief (15%): You will research current scientific information and relevant legislation on a current marine ecological issue, and present your findings and recommendations in a plain-English written report (LO 1, 3, 5, 7).
    • Press Conference (15%): Working as a team, you will present your findings from the status report as a media release and field questions from a role-playing audience in a staged press conference (LO 3, 4, 5). 
    • Reflective Learning Journal (30%): You will be asked to keep a reflective learning journal that records how your understanding of key marine environmental issues has changed throughout the course. This will require you to think critically, analyse available information and present a logical argument on current issues concerning marine ecological systems (LO 1, 7). 

      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.


      Two lectures and one tutorial per week.

      Prescribed Texts

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

      Assumed Knowledge

      Given the advanced nature of this course, prospective students should have completed at least one other BIOL course prior to enrolment. We recommend EMSC6107 to provide complementary skills in marine science.


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

      Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
      If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

      Student Contribution Band:
      Unit value:
      6 units

      If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

      Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

      Units EFTSL
      6.00 0.12500
      Domestic fee paying students
      Year Fee
      2021 $4110
      International fee paying students
      Year Fee
      2021 $5880
      Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

      Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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      There are no current offerings for this course.

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