• Offered by Research School of Earth Sciences
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Earth and Marine Science
  • Areas of interest Earth and Marine Sciences, Marine Biology, Environmental Science
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Stewart Fallon
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Winter Session 2023
    See Future Offerings

In Winter 2023, the intensive component of this course is delivered 3-10 September.

This intensive field course aims to provide students with advanced understanding of modern and fossil carbonate environments, and the role of biological processes in reef building and erosion. It complements EMSC6023 Marine Biogeochemistry and is for students seeking a profession in the marine science, environmental science or geochemistry. Several days will be spent at a coral reef location investigating 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).

NOTE: Graduate students will attend joint classes with undergraduates, but will be assessed under a different scheme, which will require a greater level of conceptual understanding.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify, understand and map different environments and bio-zones on a carbonate reef platform.
  2. Apply field techniques used to characterize and assess carbonate reef ecosystems.
  3. Produce detailed maps of the reef flat.
  4. Critique the history of deposition of carbonate reef platforms over Holocene time.
  5. Gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of how to measure carbonate chemistry in the field.
  6. Demonstrate understanding and interpretation of a spectrum of coral reef biological processes.
  7. Appraise and contrast the major issues facing the future of carbonate reef ecosystems and the strategies that may be used to address these threats.

Other Information

The fieldtrip 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 cn be paid via Scienceshop

This course has a quota of 21 and permission is required to enrol. Please register interest by emailing the course convenor 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. 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]

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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.

Graduate students will be required to demonstrate a higher level of understanding.

Inherent Requirements

Not yet determined.

Requisite and Incompatibility

Incompatible with EMSC3019

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

Prescribed Texts


Assumed Knowledge

It is expected that students have a study background in Earth Science, Environmental Studies  and/or 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.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $4320
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $6180
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

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.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4680 21 Aug 2023 28 Aug 2023 01 Sep 2023 15 Oct 2023 In Person View

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