ENV BIOL 3500 - Marine Biology III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2016

This course aims to provide an understanding of the patterns of abundance and diversity of marine plants and animals and the processes that structure these patterns. The course combines current thinking (theory) and practical measurement (practice) used to understand natural influences and human domination of top-down processes (e.g. Marine Protected Areas and fishing) and bottom-up processes (e.g. waste water treatment, catchment management) that maintain and disrupt ecosystem function and sustainability. Emphasis is placed on the challenges in understanding the complexity of marine systems and the solutions to quantifying them as used by industry. Indeed, throughout the course students will acquire a demonstrable understanding of the use of coherent logical procedures and rigorous experimental design to provide practical evidence for the development of theory and solutions to environmental and conservation problems in coastal habitats. Particular emphasis is placed on temperate coasts for which the Australian population is largest and most dense, coastal-ocean problems most expensive and intense, and career opportunities most diverse and numerous. This course has a 4 day field trip in the mid-semester break to enable students to achieve a working understanding of how to eliminate false models that account for ecological patterns and the processes that drive them.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ENV BIOL 3500
    Course Marine Biology III
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Contact Up to 8 hours per week and a 4 day Field Trip
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Incompatible ENV BIOL 3010 & ENV BIOL 3221
    Assumed Knowledge Completion of Level I and II of BSc (Marine Biology)
    Restrictions Available to B.Sc (Marine Biology) students only
    Course Description This course aims to provide an understanding of the patterns of abundance and diversity of marine plants and animals and the processes that structure these patterns. The course combines current thinking (theory) and practical measurement (practice) used to understand natural influences and human domination of top-down processes (e.g. Marine Protected Areas and fishing) and bottom-up processes (e.g. waste water treatment, catchment management) that maintain and disrupt ecosystem function and sustainability. Emphasis is placed on the challenges in understanding the complexity of marine systems and the solutions to quantifying them as used by industry. Indeed, throughout the course students will acquire a demonstrable understanding of the use of coherent logical procedures and rigorous experimental design to provide practical evidence for the development of theory and solutions to environmental and conservation problems in coastal habitats. Particular emphasis is placed on temperate coasts for which the Australian population is largest and most dense, coastal-ocean problems most expensive and intense, and career opportunities most diverse and numerous. This course has a 4 day field trip in the mid-semester break to enable students to achieve a working understanding of how to eliminate false models that account for ecological patterns and the processes that drive them.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Sean Connell

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students should be able to:
    1.     Demonstrate knowledge of processes that shape the abundance of marine organisms of wideranging taxa in wide ranging            marine environments
    2.     Demonstrate the effect of humans as drivers of marine ecosystem change and itsbiogeographic contingencies and local  
            modifiers          
    3.     Demonstrate scientific communication skills, including the conventions in technicalwriting, the structure of scientific papers and         graphical methods forpresenting data
    4.     Apply statistical techniques to real data and correctly interpret the outcome
    5.     Demonstrate team-oriented management of projects, especially communication with peers
    6.     Apply logical observations, theory and hypotheses to shape research questions and therange of different approaches used to         answer them
    7.     Develop rigorous sampling designs, plan and successfully complete a research project
    8.     Analyse spatial or temporal patterns of variance in responses of taxa
    9.     Evaluate whether models that account for these patterns are valid
    10.  Synthesise quantitatively validated models with current theory to establish greater insight into either the generality of the theory or refinement of its applicability or predictability
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1 - 10
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1 - 10
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    3 - 7
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1 - 7
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    2, 3, 6
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    1, 2, 6
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course demonstrates theory and practice through the direct exposure of logic, experimental design and experience of the natural
    environment.  Class activities are supported through field-based observation. Theory and practical aspects will be built from 1 x 2-hour lectures per week, including 1 x 2 hour tutorial per week that focus on problem-solving practical issues of testing theory, and by 1 x 4 hour field experiences per week that implement practice. Scientific method, derivation of hypotheses from theory, designingexperiments to test hypotheses, collecting data, analysis and synthesis, and presentation of results will be overseen  in small group projects during the 4 day field camp (mid-semester break) in which students apply all of these skills and orally present each iteration of their intellectual development (4 x 1 hr during the field camp) with feedback to analyse and write a scientific paper that evaluatesand synthesises the current status of theory. Each component is approached systematically so that at the end of the course all components are brought together through individual reports, group reports and presentations.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 6 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 24 hours per week on the studiesrequired.
    This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g.,
    reading and revision).
    Learning Activities Summary
    Students learn about how to approach some of the key challenges that face the discipline of marine biology. Whilst the diversity of
    challenges that found the discipline are covered in Semester 1 (Foundations in Marine Biology), this course (Semester II) acts as a
    capstone to show how these challenges are met in modern marine institutions.  The difficulty and solutions to understanding marine phenomena and solving their practical and theoretical problems across multiple spatial and temporal scales are explainedin lectures. Small group learning provides students practical situations to grapple with the logical approach to formulating theory form which hypotheses are derived. This small group leaning connects students to the reality of understanding how to design rigorous observational and experimental research programs, their costs and benefits of simple through complex programs, their relative practical and logistical difficulty and strengths and weakness in providing solutions to managers, government and the general public. Students are taught how to synthesize and present results for scientific forums in which they might find employment.  

    Topics include but are not limited to:
    experimental design, how to test for species interactions, how to test for abiotic stressors, experimental designs for categorical data, experimental designs for continuous data, pulse and press experiments. 

    Lecture topics include:

    Physicalforcing in marine environments; Spatial scales and seascapes; Positive and negative biological interactions in the ocean; Top-down and bottom-up ecology and its marine management; Local stressors in the ocean – nutrient pollution and sedimentation; 

    Global stressors in the ocean – climate change, temperature and acidification; 

    Early life-histories; Habitats – mangroves, saltmarsh and estuaries; Seagrass and nursery habitats; Coral reefs; Fisheriesbiology; and; Marine Protected Areas for Fisheries and biodiversity management

    Application of scientific techniques and approaches:

    1.Field camp – class and small group learning:
    A major practical component of this course will be completed on the compulsory mid-semester field camp at the University’s field station at Coobowie on the lower Yorke Peninsula.  This field camp brings together
    all aspects of the course; from identification of a problem for scientific solution, development of theory, derivation of hypotheses,
    experimental design and analysis, interpretation and refinement of the theory.  Small group learning and exposure to alternate marine environments with contrasting spatial patterning provides a diversity of challenges within in which students will learn the need to be open to new ways of applying method and the limits of scientific inference. 

    2. Coastal or aquarium practicals – small group and individual learning:
    The other major practical component of this course centres on the intellectual development of an idea using the skills acquired from the Field Camp.  Students will learn about creativity and theory development that is a fundamental part of the progress of scientificthinking.  By generating outcomes about the patterns or/and processes from field or aquaria, they will be challenged to recognise that this is not the end-point-in science.  The student activity will be to assess how general or more specific the model is and subject it to increased harshness or rigour of test.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment task Type of assessment Percentage of total assessment for grading purposes

    Hurdle

     

    Yes or No
    Outcomes being assessed / achieved Approximate Timing of Assessment
    Presentation (field camp). Graphical Abstracts. Formative & summative 15% No 1-7 Week 4 & 8
    Presentation (coastal/aquaria studies).  Non-camp. Formative & summative 15% No 1-7 Week 12
    Field trip report (field camp) Formative & summative 20% No 1-7 Week 10
    Progression report (coastal/aquaria studies).  Non-camp. Summative 20% No 1-7 Week 12
    Exam Summative 30% No 1-7 Exam Period
    Assessment Detail
    Project presentation (field camp) (10%)

    The class project represents a series of observations and experiments conducted by everyone in the class to demonstrate
    logic, design, collection and analysis of data. This field and practical component occurs during the first half of the course to teach students how to carry out the different aspects behind research. Student oral communication and ability to ensure the logical integrity between each step, including interpretation will be assessed by an individual oral presentation. This involves three successive presentations of 30 minutes length presented within research groupings on each of three days (1.5 hours)
    during the camp.

     Project presentation (coastal/aquaria studies) (10%)

    These presentations build on the skills acquired in the field camp to create new knowledge and progress its generality,
    specificity and rigour.  Student oral communication is individually assessed on the ability to synthesize, evaluate and intellectually progress evidence-based theory.  These presentations will be assessed at the end of the semester through individual class presentations.

     Field Trip Report (30%)

    Students will be required to submit a report on scientific activities on the compulsory mid-semester field camp. This report will take the form of a scientific paper of approximately 2500 words and will have strict guidelines that will be announced in class and posted on MyUni. The report will be written in the same groups that complete the research project on the camp. All students within the group will receive the same mark for the report. Students who do not attend the field camp will be required to write an essay that requires comparable intellectual and temporal investment as expended by students on the camp. Details about the essay guidelines will be provided in class. 

     Progression Report (20%)

    Assessment will be on the progression of knowledge created by the students as part of their field experience (11 x 4 hour sessions).  Assessment will centre on test of generality, specificity and rigour. Models will be assessed on predictive improvements to how general or more specific the model applies or how rigorously it was subjected to increased harshness of test.  The evaluation of these components is a report using field or aquarium data collected by individuals or small groups and it is handed in individually with a length of approximately 2,000 words.  Tutorials provide students with the problem solving skills and challenges needed to advance knowledge creation.

    Final Exam (30%)

    essay type answers






    Submission
    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply.  A penalty of 10% of the value of the
    assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.



    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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