Available in 2012
Previously offered in 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004
Provides an examination of the key elements and complex processes (physical, biogeochemical and biological) that shape and influence estuarine ecology. The course will explore the highly dynamic nature of estuaries through study of a wide variety of estuarine systems, including coastal lagoons, coastal embayments and river estuaries. Students will examine the effects of catchment development on nutrient and sediment loads and the consequences for biological production and biodiversity. The course will also address issues of estuarine functioning, appropriate estuarine monitoring programs and the use of key indicators as a measure of estuarine health.
In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory Workplace Health and Safety requirement. Students will receive full information on this compulsory course component in the course outline provided by the school.
This course will take the general principles examined in BIOL2070 Ecology and MARI2320 Marine Ecology 1 and apply them to coastal estuaries. The student will gain an understanding of the key processes operating within the estuarine system which will be largely focused on practical examples from the local area.
The following topics are appropriate:
1) Basic physical/chemical nature, origin and formation of estuaries.
a) The focus will be on the 3 main types of estuaries that are found in Australia.
i) Drowned river valleys,
ii) Barrier estuaries and
iii) Coastal lagoons.
b) Physical and chemical factors of importance to the estuarine environment will include;
i) hydrology and flushing characteristics,
ii) salinity and water quality and
iii) sedimentation and biochemistry.
2) Major habitat types found within estuaries.
a) Examples from the local area will be used to demonstrate key processes operating within each habitat.
b) These habitats will include;
i) shallow subtidal and intertidal mud and sandflats and
ii) the assemblages of organisms that comprise each habitat.
3) The ecological processes occurring within estuaries and the role of nutrient cycling, productivity, trophodynamics and energy flows.
4) The patterns of spatial and temporal variability in the abundance of estuarine organisms in relation to estuary processes.
a) the mechanisms by which organisms manage to cope with the stresses of living in an estuary.
b) The effects of human activities or anthropogenic disturbance on the ecology of estuaries
5) Recent and current management issues in various Australian estuaries.
MARI2320 Marine Ecology 1
Modes of Delivery
Lecture: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Practical: for 3 hour(s) per Week for Full Term