Available in 2017

Course handbook


Coral reefs are ecologically diverse an extremely complex habitats, supporting thousands of marine species, and are considered to be the richest and most complex of all marine ecosystems. This course will examine the biological, ecological and sustainability aspects of coral reefs in order to gain a better understanding of this complex and unique environment. The students will not only gain knowledge of the corals and the reef-building process, but also a better understanding and appreciation of the numerous other marine organisms that affect and are associated with the reef and their overall role in the reef ecosystem. This course will be particularly beneficial to those students pursuing careers in Marine Science, Environmental Science and/or Sustainable Resource Management.

The field component of this course, at Hideaway Island, Vanuatu, requires a significant up-front fee, not covered by HECS. This may vary with each offering of the course, so interested students should contact the course coordinator (see above) for more information.

Availability2017 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2017

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the geological history of coral reefs

2. Demonstrate an understanding of the processes and marine organisms associated with coral reef formation

3. Demonstrate an understanding and an appreciation of the complex ecology of coral reefs and sustainability issues relating to the coral reefs and surrounding village communities

4. Identify the common flora and fauna associated with coral reefs

5. Demonstrate an understanding of the dangerous marine organisms associated with coral reefs

6. Apply gained knowledge from the course towards small research projects and reports on various aspects of coral reefs

7. Develop an appreciation of the complexities of coral reefs and how man┬┐s activities influence these processes

8. Determine the appropriate steps for OH and S issues for field studies such as this one on a coral reef island

9. Identify the dangerous marine organisms associated with coral reefs

10. Carry out appropriate preventative and / or first aid procedures regarding dangerous marine organisms associated with coral reefs

11. Use flora and fauna keys for the identification of coral reef organisms


The course will be carried out over a three week period and will be divided into two parts:
Part 1 the lecture and information component lasting two weeks and will take place at the Ourimbah Campus and Part 2 the practical component lasting one week, and will take place at Hideaway Island in Vanuatu.

Part 1 (2 weeks at Ourimbah Campus):

  • General background on coral reefs
  • Reef building and non-reef building organisms
  • Coral reef ecology
  • General familiarization and identification of coral reef organisms
  • Dangerous marine organisms & prevention and first aid
  • Issues relating to the sustainablity of coral reefs and surrounding village communities

Part 2: (1 week at Hideaway Island, Vanuatu):

The practical component of the course will be set up for the student to complete several reef-related projects during the time allotted for the practical session. These projects are both ongoing reef research projects, as well as a project chosen by the student.
Some examples of student chosen projects are:

  • Dangerous marine organisms,
  • Sea Turtles on Coral Reefs,
  • Coral Reef Plants,
  • The exposed Reef Flat Ecosystem,
  • The Submerged Reef Flat Ecosystem,
  • The Shallow Sublittoral Ecosystem, The Deep Sublittoral Ecosystm,
  • Invertebrates of Coral Reefs,
  • Fish of Coral Reefs,
  • Sharks and Rays of Coral Reefs,
  • Reef-building Corals,
  • Non-reef Building Corals of Coral Reefs
  • Sustainablity of coral reefs and surrounding village communities


This course has similarities to MARI2900 or MARI2410. If you have successfully completed MARI2900 or MARI2410 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

BIOL1040, BIOL1050 and MARI2300.

Assessment items

Formal Examination: Examination - Formal and Class

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Laboratory Exercises

Report: Written Reports

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Laboratory: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions. - In order to participate in this course students must complete a compulsory safety induction.

Contact hours


Field Study

Face to Face Off Campus 72 hour(s) per Term

The field study will take place at Hideaway Island, Vanuatu in December after the semester.


Face to Face On Campus 28 hour(s) per Term

The lectures & laboratory will take place during the mid-semester break at the Ourimbah Campus.


Face to Face On Campus 21 hour(s) per Term


Face to Face On Campus 7 hour(s) per Week for 1 Weeks