BIOS3091 – Marine and Aquatic Ecology

Crayweed with snorkeler. Photo: John Turnbull

BIOS3091 provides students with an opportunity to learn about the ecology of aquatic habitats, with a major focus on marine coastal systems such as kelp forests, coral reefs or seagrass meadows.
The course is roughly structured into three sections: the first one focuses on understanding the ecological processes that govern marine habitats, such as predation, herbivory and competition; the second section is centred on understanding how individual marine communities function; the third section has a management and conservation focus and examines major human impacts and the kind of solutions that can mitigate them.
Throughout the course, there is a strong emphasis on experimental approaches to ecological research. By the end of the course, students should be able to discuss the relative importance of major ecological processes structuring marine and freshwater communities.

Session 2

Study level: Undergraduate

6 units of credit

Hours per week: 5 - 2 hours lectures, 3 hours practicals.

Number of weeks: 12.

Current handbook entry Current timetable 2016 Course schedule

Who should I contact?

Coordinator: Dr Adriana Vergés

You can also check out Adriana's work with Operation Crayweed, or follow her on Twitter.

Sea urchins are important herbivores that can threaten kelp forest communities. Photo: Adriana Verges.

What does this course cover?

  • The scientific method and experimental design
  • Larval and supply-side ecology
  • Species interactions (facilitation, competition, herbivory and predation)
  • Disturbance ecology
  • Marine communities (rocky shores, coral reefs, salt marshes, kelp forests, seagrass meadows)
  • Microbial ecology
  • Invasion ecology
  • Desert rivers
  • Human impacts and conservation

Where does this course fit into my degree?

This course is typically taken during the 3rd year of a Biological Sciences degree. Some experimental design and statistical knowledge is assumed. It is excellent preparation for Honours, as the course includes an independent field project and there is substantial training and practise in report writing and general communication of results. There are opportunities for some underwater fieldwork and it is a highly recommended course for students interested in further research in the marine sciences.

Photo by Abbo Walter Van Neer.

Is there assumed prior knowledge or a co-requisite?

BIOS2011 or BEES2041 is a prerequisites for this course.

Are there mandatory activities for this course?

All field trips are mandatory - these involve the set up of an experiment in Maroubra and an independent field project - times are highly tide and weather dependent. There are no additional costs associated with this course. There are opportunities for some underwater field research on snorkel after induction with UNSW’s diving officer.

I took this course a while ago, and need proof of what was covered.

2015 Course schedule

2014 Course Schedule


NB: All information provided on this page is superseded by information provided by the course coordinator or lecturer(s).