Ocean to Estuarine Ecosystems - BIOS3081

Faculty: Faculty of Science

School: School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences

Course Outline:

Campus: Sydney

Career: Undergraduate

Units of Credit: 6

EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)

Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 5

Enrolment Requirements:


Excluded: BIOS3681

CSS Contribution Charge: 2 (more info)

Tuition Fee: See Tuition Fee Schedule

Further Information: See Class Timetable

View course information for previous years.


Oceans occupy 75% of the planet’s surface and have the capacity to moderate our climate and supply our food, water and oxygen. The East Australian Current also has a substantial (and unappreciated) effect on our lives. This course outlines the dominant players and processes in pelagic marine ecosystems, from fine-scale ocean physics, to nutrients, phytoplankton, zooplankton, fish and sharks. We will study estuarine ecosystems, including the effects of catchments and nutrients on hydrography and estuarine habitats. The systematics and ecology of fish in particular, but also sharks and rays will be a feature of the course. The 5 day field trip to the UNSW field station at Smiths Lake replaces many of the labs later in session, where students may learn practical skills (boats, nets) and theoretical skills (statistics and modelling using and EcoPath spreadsheet) . Other topics may include human impacts and possible solutions through engineering of pelagic ecosystems such as bottom-up ecosystem regulation through nutrient supply, or top-down regulation of ecosystems by sharks and other predators; removal of mid-level planktivores, and some bio-engineering solutions to degraded ecosystems: re-stocking of fish; ocean fertilization; and artificial reefs.

Assumed knowledge: BIOS2031 and BEES2041

Note: The course may include an intensive 5 day field trip to Smiths Lake held during the mid-session break. This will involve personal expense to students for transportation, food, accommodation.
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