Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


This course provides students with an understanding of the principles of marine ecology (Australian marine ecosystems, early life history, community and population ecology) and contemporary issues for the Australian marine environment (e.g. climate change, elasmobranch fisheries, over-fishing, invasive species, pollution, whaling, threats to coral reefs). The exploration of contemporary issues includes analysis of the effectiveness of current approaches to conservation and sustainable use (e.g. fisheries management, marine protected areas, aquaculture, integrated catchment management). The course will be taught by a combination of self-directed learning of the principles of marine ecology and a problem-solving analysis of a selection of topical issues.



  • Trimester 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

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

1. Have acquired knowledge of: the principles of marine ecology relevant to management and conservation, and key Australian marine ecosystems

2. Understand current issues for Australian marine ecosystems, and contemporary management and conservation strategies

3. Be able to critically evaluate marine ecological information for management relevance and the broader ecological consequences of marine issues

4. Be able to propose relevant and sustainable management and conservation solutions and

5. Have acquired skills in effectively communicating complex ecological information and evaluations of issues to non-specialist audiences.


Module 1: Principles of Marine Ecology

  • Early life history
  • Predation and herbivory
  • Competition
  • Positive interactions
  • Natural disturbances

Module 2: Biogeography and Connectivity

  • Marine biogeography and biodiversity
  • Coastal oceanography and connectivity
  • Terrestrial-freshwater and marine linkages

Module 3: Coastal and Marine Ecosystems

  • Open water
  • Coral reefs
  • Subtidal temperate rocky reefs
  • Intertidal temperate rocky shores
  • Soft sediment
  • Seagrass
  • Mangroves and saltmarsh

Module 4: Issues, Challenges, Responses

  • Fisheries and their management
  • Marine protected areas
  • Water quality and loss of coral reefs and kelp forests
  • Invasive marine species
  • Climate change

Assumed knowledge

Basic knowledge (i.e. to year 12 standard) of biology, ecology or environmental science.

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Written assignment involving case scenario and PBL exercises

Quiz: Quiz - On-line

Participation: Group/tutorial participation and contribution

Contact hours


Self-Directed Learning

Online 10 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Case study involves Problem-based learning. Field study involves Email discussion group.

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.