• Class Number 4679
  • Term Code 3350
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Stewart Fallon
    • Prof Michael Ellwood
    • Prof Nerilie Abram
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 21/08/2023
  • Class End Date 15/10/2023
  • Census Date 01/09/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 28/08/2023
SELT Survey Results

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.

Research-Led Teaching

In the field, you will undertake mapping a coral reef flat area and undertake a research project specific to Orpheus Island

Field Trips

Sept. 3-10 at Orpheus Island Research Station https://www.jcu.edu.au/orpheus-island.

The following information is a supplement to the CoS Field Trip page. Please confer with the convenor as early as possible with any questions or concerns.

If running in Winter Session, the trip is at Orpheus Island Research Station, usually the first week of September; the nearest city is Townsville, Qld. If running in Spring Session, the trip is at One Tree Island, usually the last week of November/first week of December; the nearest city is Gladstone, Qld. The trip usually lasts from 6-10 days. 

We will study Geochemical & Geomorphological processes– we will be fundamentally exploring and mapping the reef flat, right out to the reef edge. We will also studying how the diurnal cycle of the calcifying organisms changes the carbonate chemistry of the water on the reef flat.


The trip costs approximately $800 per student plus transport to Townsville (Orpheus Island) or Gladstone (One Tree Island), in addition to the normal course fees.


Both Orpheus Island Research Station and One Tree Island research stations are remote and is a coral rubble cay/island. They both contain a small classroom building for daily lectures, it can be hot both on the island and in the classroom. There are 3 stairs to enter the classroom. It is difficult to walk around on the island due to uneven paths and coral rubble. Walks tend to be ~1km in length.


Accommodation is a bunkhouse style. There are multiple rooms with 4-6 bunks each. Students will need to share the rooms. Students form their own groups but any issues can be discussed before the trip departs. Toilets are composting and ~10 stairs are required to reach the toilets. Showers are "bucket showers" standing on rubber mats over coral rubble.


Mental and physical health: 6-10 days is a significant time to be away from support networks and students are strongly encouraged to think about how they will manage their physical and mental health while on the trip. Both locations are extremely remote, which places a number of constraints on how we can support you to manage your health. Students will be asked to fill out a pre-excursion form and it is very important that you report any existing or potential health issues. This information will assist our first aid officers to support you if you require it. If you need assistance storing equipment or medication, you will need to discuss this before the trip. Emergency transport can be arranged via the Royal Flying Doctor service, however not for routine issues. Also please be aware that the university's insurance policy does not cover pre-existing conditions.

Lectures and field presentations: There will be a two hour lecture each morning. These lectures are not recorded, so students will need to have their own note-taking strategy. 

Students will be listening to content delivered by staff whilst in the field (outside). While collecting field data, students will have to listen, discuss and coordinate with each other as small group. They will need to collect information (data) as a group and disseminate between the others of their group.

Additional Course Costs

Students must pay $800 to attend the course. Payment can be made via Scienceshop .

Examination Material or equipment

Exam on the island.

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Mapping, research and lectures on Orpheus Island. The intensive face-to-face component will take place Sept. 3-10, with assignments due before October 1, 2023

Tutorial Registration

No tutorials

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Oral Presentation of research project on Orpheus Island 20 % * 2,5,6,7
Exam on island 30 % * 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
Research Project Report 30 % 01/10/2023 1,2,3
Map of coral reef flat area 10 % * 1,2,3
Pre trip quizes from online videos 10 % * 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

* 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 Integrity 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 Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 2,5,6,7

Oral Presentation of research project on Orpheus Island

Present a description of your research project and any results

Due while on the island

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Exam on island

Exam on Island based on lectures on the Island.

Due while on the island


Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 01/10/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Research Project Report

Standard report describing research project, why important, results, discussion, conclusion and what next.

Due Oct 1, 2023. Check Wattle for details.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Map of coral reef flat area

Produce a detailed map of the reef flat area of Orpheus Island highlighting organisms and zones of the reef flat.

Due October 1, 2023. Check Wattle for details.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Pre trip quizes from online videos

Complete online quizes related to online videos.

Completed prior to Sept 1, 2023

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

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 not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

There will be a response via Wattle or students can pick up in person.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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).

Prof Stewart Fallon

Research Interests

Coral reefs, geochemistry, radiocarbon, environmental studies

Prof Stewart Fallon

Monday 13:00 16:00
Tuesday 13:00 16:00
Wednesday 13:00 16:00
Thursday 13:00 16:00
Friday 13:00 16:00
Prof Michael Ellwood

Research Interests

Prof Michael Ellwood

Prof Nerilie Abram

Research Interests

Coral reefs, geochemistry, radiocarbon, environmental studies

Prof Nerilie Abram


Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions