Available in 2021
Course code



10 units


1000 level

Course handbook


Australia's marine environment is globally significant, containing some of the world's most diverse ecosystems and species, many of which are unique to Australia. The economic value of Australia's marine environment exceeds A$30 billion annually and its social value (for sport, recreation, relaxation) is immense in Australia's culture. Addressing future challenges for our oceans needs a sound understanding of its living and non-living features, including how we both benefit from, and impact upon, these valuable marine ecosystems. This course provides students with an introduction to the marine environment, to some of the most important marine ecosystems (coral reefs, beaches, rocky reefs), and current conservation and management issues (inc. climate change, land-based pollution, fishing and aquaculture, shoreline changes, marine protected areas) and their solutions. The course will be taught through on-line delivery of learning materials.

Availability2021 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2021
  • Semester 2 - 2021

Learning outcomes

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

1. Describe the physical marine environment, including the seafloor, oceanography and climate;

2. Describe key Australian marine ecosystems and species and their significance;

3. Recognise the social, economic and environmental benefits from sustainable use of Australia's marine environment;

4. Recognise the current issues for the Australian marine environment and their social, economic and environmental costs;

5. Integrate personal perspectives and evidence-based arguments for analysing contemporary issues in the marine environment;

6. Organise and communicate key concepts, using written and visual means.


Module 1: Introduction to the Marine Environment

  • Environmental, economic & social benefits of our ocean resources
  • Climate, oceanography and currents
  • Structure of the seafloor
  • Australia's marine biodiversity & ecosystems, and challenges for living organisms


 Module 2: Coastal and Marine Ecosystems

  • Coral reefs
  • Beaches
  • Estuaries, including seagrass, mangroves and saltmarsh
  • Rocky reefs, both intertidal and subtidal

 Module 3: Issues, Challenges, Responses (may include)

  • Climate change
  • Land-based discharge, including plastic pollution/stormwater
  • Sustainable fishing and aquaculture
  • Shoreline changes
  • Marine protected areas

Assessment items

Quiz: Quizzes

Professional Task: Factsheet development

Online Learning Activity: Analysis of contemporary issue

Compulsory Requirements

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

General Course Requirements:

  • Self-Directed Learning: 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 (fully online)

Contact hours


Self-Directed Learning

Online 120 hour(s) per Term Full Term

Hours per week will vary depending on whether the course is run in semester 1 or 2 or as a compressed summer term. The total number of hours per term remains the same.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.