Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


Coral reefs are ecologically diverse and extremely complex habitats, supporting thousands of marine species, and are considered to be the richest and most complex of all marine ecosystems. The largest of these reef systems is The Great Barrier Reef running more than 2000 kilometres along the North eastern coast of Australia covering an area of over 250,000 square kilometres.

This introductory course will examine some of the biological and ecological aspects of a coral reef in order to gain a better understanding of this complex and unique environment. The students will not only gain some general knowledge of the corals and the reef-building process, but also a better 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 teaching where they will be able to take this knowledge and experience in to their classrooms in the future.

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 School of Environmental and Life Sciences for more information.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2016.

Learning outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate a general understanding of the processes and marine organisms associated with coral reef formation

2. Demonstrate a general understanding and an appreciation of the ecology of coral reefs,

3. Identify some of the common flora and fauna associated with coral reefs

4. Demonstrate a general understanding of the dangerous marine organisms associated with coral reefs

5. Apply gained knowledge from the course towards a small project and a report on various aspects of coral reefs

6. Develop an appreciation of the complexities of coral reefs and how man¿s activities influence these processes

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

8. Identify the dangerous marine organisms associated with coral reefs

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

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


Part 1 of the course will be as an on-line presentation during semester. Part 2 the practical component lasting one week, and will take place at Hideaway Island, Vanuatu.

Part 1 (on-line Semester 1 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 and prevention and first aid

Part 2: (1 week at Hideaway Island, Vanuatu):   The practical component of the course will be set up as learning modules for the student to complete. It will also include;

  • Lab examining different coral types and other marine organisms associated with the coral reef.
  • Lab examining different dangerous marine organisms associated with the coral reef.

The final practical grade will be based on module completion during the time practical session.


This course has similarities to MARI2900 or MARI3410. If you have successfully completed MARI2900 or MARI3410 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assessment items

Quiz: Online Quiz

Written Assignment: Written Assessments

Formal Examination: Formal Examination

Compulsory Requirements

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

General Course Requirements:

  • Field Study: 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.