Australian Marine Vertebrates

University of Queensland

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Australian Marine Vertebrates

  • Host University

    University of Queensland

  • Location

    Brisbane, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Field Component, Marine Biology, Pacific Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Prerequisite: BIOL2204

    Recommended prerequisite: MARS2014

    This course requires additional faculty approval for entry.

    *This course has a field trip component. Additional fees, paid directly to the university, may apply.

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Host University Units

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Description
    Biology of marine vertebrates, including elasmobranchs, bony fish, reptiles, birds & mammals with an emphasis on Australian fauna.
    Course Introduction
    The objective of the course is for students to gain an overview of the evolution, biology and ecology of marine vertebrates, with particular emphasis on species occurring in Australian waters. Students will also gain an appreciation of the specific challenges in studying marine vertebrates, will become familiar with the latest research tools, and gain an understanding of current conservation and management issues of marine vertebrate species.
    Animal groups covered by this course include fishes (bony and cartilaginous), marine mammals (cetaceans, pinnipeds and sirenians), marine reptiles (sea snakes, sea turtles, saltwater crocodiles) and sea birds of tropical to polar waters.
    Students will undertake two (optional) field excursions to observe marine vertebrates in both wild and captive situations and will learn about modern research techniques applicable to these species.
    Learning Objectives
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    1. Identify and describe the key defining features, body morphology, physiology, and adaptations to a marine environment of the major taxa of marine vertebrates: fishes, reptiles, birds and mammals
    2. Demonstrate an understanding of the origins and evolutionary history of each of the major marine vertebrate taxa and understand their affinities with other taxa.
    3. Understand the ecological interactions between marine vertebrates and their environments
    4. Describe some of the major global and local threats to populations of marine vertebrates and have an understanding of some major conservation and management issues
    5. Observe, analyse and interpret information on the taxonomy and functional morphology of marine vertebrates, during laboratory classes.
    6. Prepare a research proposal that involves development of a focussed research question backed by a critical literature search on a topic related to the conservation and/or management of large marine vertebrates. The proposed methods must directly address the question and be appropriate and feasible.
    7. Communicate results of a critical literature search via a professional-standard oral presentation to peers
    8. Understand the most appropriate methodologies to use to answer major ecological and physiological questions related to marine vertebrates and their habitats.
    Class Contact
    3 Lecture hours, 3 Practical or Laboratory hours, 5 Field Work hours

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.