BIOS6692 - Advanced Underwater Field Ecology

BIOS6692 - Advanced Underwater Field Ecology aims to develop confident and competent scientific divers that are able to combine advanced diving skills and general scientific research practices. This course will provide practical experience in freediving, SCUBA diving and an array of equipment and methods used to collect data underwater. This course will also provide practical training in general experimental design, data analysis and scientific writing. This course will ultimately equip students with the skills necessary to undertake high quality, rigorous and safe underwater research, either in higher degree studies or industry-based careers. 

BIOS6692 runs in Summer Session. The next offering is Summer 2017/18, course commencing November 2017.

Study level: Undergraduate and/or Postgraduate

6 units of credit

Hours per week: This course is run as an intensive 3 weeks + 1 day session.

The dates for 2017 are: 22 November + 27 November to 15 December. It’s a physically intensive course that will connect you with nature while you learn research skills. 

Please note that the diving components of the course are strongly weather-dependent, so starting and finishing times will vary depending on conditions on the day.

Current handbook entry Current timetable Course outline

Proposed schedule Summer 2017/18

(please note this is only a proposed schedule and is subject to change)

Who should I contact?

Coordinator: Adriana Vergés

What does this course cover?

Major topics covered:


As part of this course, you will obtain the following SCUBA and safety certificates during Week 1. This part of the course is run by Abyss Scuba Dive:

  • Advanced Scuba Diver
  • Rescue Scuba Diver
  • Scientific Scuba Diver
  • Senior First Aid
  • Oxygen provision


Training will be provided on the taxonomy of the dominant marine plants and fauna in the Sydney area and on the main research methods used in sub tidal marine ecology to quantify changes in biodiversity and community composition. Students will also be trained in the essentials behind experimental design and data analysis.

Where does this course fit into my degree?

This course is ideal for students wishing to undertake an Honours in marine ecology or for students who want to learn more about subtidal ecology. It complements BIOS3091 Marine and Aquatic Ecology and BIOS3081 Oceans to Estuarine Ecosystems. The certificates obtained will allow students to be registered as UNSW divers, opening up volunteering opportunities to work with scientists in the Sydney region.

Is there assumed prior knowledge, pre- or co-requisites?

Assumed knowledge for this course: BIOS1101 - Evolutionary and Functional Biology and BEES2041 - Data Analysis for Life and Earth Sciences.

An OPEN WATER Scuba diving certificate and an Occupational Dive Medical (before October 31st) are essential pre-requisites for this course.

This course will incur additional fees estimated at $1600 to cover the Abyss Scuba dive training. If you already have one of the certificates offered (e.g. Advanced Scuba Diving) these fees will be reduced accordingly.

Are there mandatory activities for this course?

This course involves compulsory field-work and certifications, which will involve additional expense to individual students.

Is there anything else I should know?

This course will incur additional fees estimated at $1600 to cover the Abyss Scuba dive training. If you already have one of the certificates offered (e.g. Advanced Scuba Diving) these fees will be reduced accordingly.

This course is available to students in the Bachelor of Advanced Science and Bachelor of Science and their associated Dual Degrees, with a preference given to students in the Marine majors. Unfilled places are available to students in the Bachelor of Environmental Management and Bachelor of Life Science, with preference given to students in Biology or Ecology majors with a credit average. This course will also be available to students in the study abroad program that are undertaking similar programs internationally.


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