Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


3000 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. 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. In a small group setting students will develop and execute a research project to be conducted at Hideaway Island, Vanuatu. Students will gain an in-depth appreciation of the professional requirements to conduct a research project in a remote location. 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 for more information.



  • Semester 2 - 2022

Learning outcomes

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

1. Explain the complex ecology of coral reefs;

2. Critically evaluate and explain sustainability issues relating to coral reefs;

3. Assess the relevant literature and develop a research proposal on a current issue of coral reef ecology or sustainability;

4. Work in a small group to collaboratively plan, problem solve and execute a research project;

5. Evaluate scientific data and literature and present verbal and written summaries on a current issue of coral reef ecology or sustainability;

6. Prepare and write a risk assessment for a field-based project in a coral reef environment to ensure the safety of themselves and other group members.


The course will be carried out over a two-week period & will be divided into 2 parts: Part 1 the snorkelling assessment, lecture & information component will take place during semester & for 1 week at the Ourimbah Campus & Part 2, the practical component lasting 1 week, & will take place at Hideaway Island, Vanuatu.

Part 1 (Ourimbah Campus): will consist of the compulsory snorkelling assessment, lectures, tutorials & discussion on the following topics:

•  Current issues in coral reef ecology

•  Issues relating to the sustainability of coral reefs

•  Guidelines to developing a risk assessment for work in a remote location

•  Experiment design & analysis

•  Proposal design & presentation

Part 2 (1 week at Hideaway Island, Vanuatu): In the practical component of the course, in small groups, students will conduct their proposed research projects. In addition, students are required to attend a local village experience. The course consists of both peer & academic assessment as well as group and individual assessment.


Students must have successfully completed MARI1000 to enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

MARI2300, plus either BIOL1040 or BIOL1070 or BIOL1002 or BIOL1003 or SCIE1002

Assessment items

In Term Test: Commercial snorkeling assessment *

Presentation: Oral presentation of research project

Written Assignment: Literature review project proposal and risk assessment

Participation: Contribution to the group assignment

Report: Final report

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

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. - Compulsory Safety Induction
  • Lecture: 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.

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • In Term Test: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course. - Students who do not pass this assessment will not be allowed to continue in the course.

Contact hours


Field Study

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

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


Face to Face On Campus 48 hour(s) per Term Full Term

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


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

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.