Tropical Marine Ecosystems

University of Queensland

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Tropical Marine Ecosystems

  • Host University

    University of Queensland

  • Location

    Brisbane, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Ecology, Marine Biology, Pacific Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    MARS2014 and BIOL2204

    This course requires additional faculty approval for entry.

  • 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
    Tropical Coastal Ecosystems include mangrove, seagrass, and coral reefs ecosystems. The complex physical benthic structure of these ecosystems facilitates enormous trophic and ecological partitioning such that a huge number of species from almost all animal phyla are found in these habitats. In addition, they provide essential coastal protection by absorbing a large proportion of the energy stores in waves and stabilising sediment. These ecosystems are, however, under acute risk from decay due directly to human activities. This course will provide knowledge pertinent to 1) the geological history, structure and distribution of the ecosystems, 2) building and sustaining coral reefs in an oligotrophic ocean, and 3) ecological functions of mangroves and seagrass ecosystems.
    *This course has a field trip component. Additional fees, paid directly to the university, may apply.
    The course will include a field trip to Heron Island Research Station. Due to a limited number of places available on Heron Island, there will be a selection process for the field trip where students enrolled in the Marine Science/Marine biology major will be given preference and all remaining places will be allocated based on merit using the student's overall GPA as the criterion. Students who do not attend the trip to Heron will complete an online field-based experiment that will require them to be present at the St Lucia campus. Students will be notified of the outcome of the process by the end of the second week of semester 2.
    Learning Objectives
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    1. Describe the key organisms and ecosystem processes underpinning tropical coastal ecosystems
    2. Describe the value of sustainable management of tropical coastal ecosystems
    3. Describe the local and global threats to tropical coastal ecosystems
    4. Design experiments to specific questions, collect and analyse relevant data, and discuss findings in the context of available literature.
    5. Describe contrasting perspectives with regards to three key issues associated with tropical coastal ecosystems
    Class Contact
    3 Lecture hours, 1 Practical or Laboratory hour
    One Quiz per week over 5 weeks
    Type: Online Quiz
    Learning Objectives Assessed: 1, 2, 3
    Due Date: First 5 weeks - Accessible on Tuesdays only
    Weight: 20% (5 x 4%)
    Reading: 0 minutes
    Duration: 10 minutes
    Format: Multiple-choice, Short answer
    Task Description: Blackboard Quizes will be made available on Tuesdays covering the material of the previous week's UQx BIOL3023 online material. A warning will be sent out by email to enrolled students.
    Only the first 5 weeks of the online course will be examined with each Quiz worth 4% (totally 20% of your final grade). Each Quiz will comprise 4 multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank questions.
    Research Report
    Type: Project Report
    Learning Objectives Assessed: 1, 4
    Due Date: Mid-Late Semester
    Weight: 40%
    Task Description: You will be tasked with completing a research report based on data collected during your attendance of the Heron Island Research Station field trip or resultant from your online survey (week 7/8: TROPICSx).
    You will be graded on your ability to link question to experimental design and available background primary literature, and on your ability to explain and interpret your data. It is okay if the experiment did not turn out as expected. This is a part of science and something interesting to discuss.
    You must complete the report to a high standard of grammar and expression following very closely the recommended scientific style of in-text citation and referencing ? By reading the primary literature, you will rapidly gain an appreciation as to how this is achieved.
    The report should have a maximum number of pages = six (6) A4 pages. Font should be 12 point Times New Roman. Line spacing should be 1.5. Figures should be aesthetically presented with axis, units and error bars defined. Figure legends should be "standalone" providing sufficient information that they can be interpreted without resort to the main text of the report.
    Final Exam
    Type: Exam - during Exam Period (Central)
    Learning Objectives Assessed: 1, 2, 3, 5
    Due Date: Examination Period
    Weight: 40%
    Reading: 10 minutes
    Duration: 120 minutes
    Format: Short answer, Short essay
    Task Description: The final exam will take the form of short answer questions on the material provided online over the first 6 weeks of the course (10%). And a mixture or short and long answer questions associated with the three "special-topics" covered in the last few weeks of the course (10% for each special topic = 30%)

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.