Faculty of Science

Skip to content | Change text size

print version

Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton First semester 2010 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Professor John Beardall


This unit investigates the organisms and the processes that drive marine ecosystems. We deal with the trophic structure of marine ecosystems, including primary and secondary production, microbial loops, food webs and their importance for marine fisheries. The implications of the characteristic life cycles of marine organisms to their geographical distribution are also considered. These topics are placed in the context of specific marine ecosystems including coastal habitats, coral reefs, open oceans, the deep sea and polar ecosystems. The practical component comprises a field trip (fee payable) either to Heron Island in December or the Queenscliff Marine Station in February where students work in small groups on specific aspects of marine biology.


On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • describe the diversity and ecological importance of marine life;
  • explain the fundamental physiochemical and physiological processes underlying the productivity of marine environments;
  • describe the ecological dynamics of marine ecosystems;
  • discuss the impact of human activity on the sustainability of marine ecosystems;
  • critically review some of the important current trends in marine biology;
  • employ a critical, analytical approach to scientific research;
  • demonstrate skills in writing scientific reports and in oral communication of scientific information.


Examination (2.5 hours): 50%
Practical work/field work/project work: 40%
Miniquizzes: 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Prof John Beardall

Contact hours

Two 1-hour lectures, equivalent of 3 hours laboratory/field work per week


12 points from level 2 BIO including either BIO2181 or BIO2231