Marine biology students dive into study
Students on one of the University of Adelaide's newest Bachelor degree programs needed little encouragement to get thoroughly immersed in their study environment at the start of their degree.
The Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology) started this year and within a few weeks students were undertaking the "dive experience". The first session took place in a pool and then students took to the reef at Port Noarlunga.
"Following this session, we encourage students to get their open water certificate," said Gerald Buttfield, School Manager, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. "Students need their certificate if they want to take part in underwater research opportunities and be inducted as a scientific diver."
Although actively encouraged, diving is not a requirement. "We try to get students who want to dive into the water wherever possible but there are also plenty of shore-based areas of study," said Mr Buttfield.
The School has a large aquarium facility and a boat fleet, including two six-metre marine vessels and a variety of smaller craft.
Marine biology students benefit from close interaction with the University's large marine biology research group. The group has been very successful in winning research grants and has a variety of research projects, in areas such as sub-tidal and macro ecology, ecological history, fisheries, deep sea environments, parasites and human impact on habitats. The research group and the Marine Biology program have close links with SARDI Aquatic Sciences, and there is collaborative research with all government departments and agencies involved in this area.
"The students gain an insight into research and experience with the major current issues of importance in marine ecology," said Mr Buttfield.
The course coordinator is Associate Professor Sean Connell. He and fellow researcher Associate Professor Bronwyn Gillanders together edited Australia's first textbook on marine ecology. Marine Ecology was recently published by Oxford University Press Australia and reviewed as "setting a new standard in text books". It has been adopted by Australia's experts as the most authoritative text in the discipline.
Story by Robyn Mills
To find out more about Marine Biology at the University of Adelaide, visit Open Day on Sunday 26 August.