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CH2042 - Marine Chemistry and Chemical Ecology

Credit points: 3
Year: 2021
Student Contribution Band: Band 2
Administered by: College of Science and Engineering

An introductory subject on the principles of marine chemistry and marine chemical ecology. Definition and history of marine chemistry and chemical ecology. Properties and chemical composition of seawater. Major elements in seawater. Conservative and non-conservative elements. Biogeochemical cycles. Horizontal and vertical distribution of biolimiting elements. Determination of nutrients in seawater. Minor or trace elements in seawater, sediments and marine organisms. Bioaccumulation and biomagnification of trace elements in marine organisms. Trace element speciation and toxicity. Carbonate equilibria in the sea. Ecological role of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) compounds in seawater. Chemical communication conveyed by DOC, allochemical effects. Invertebrate-toxic host relationships, symbiosis and mutualism, coral spawning chemistry. Fatty acids, steroids, terpenes, nitrogenous compounds, fish and shellfish toxins. Potential applications of marine biotechnology-ectocrines and filter feeders, mollusk chemistry, tunichromes, metal ion sequestering and pharmacological activity.

Learning Outcomes

  • to introduce the study of marine pollution;
  • to understand ecology in terms of chemical interactions;
  • to understand the basic principles of marine chemistry.

Subject Assessment

  • Written > Examination (centrally administered) - (40%) - Individual
  • Written > Literature review - (10%) - Individual
  • Written > Problem task - (20%) - Individual
  • Performance/Practice/Product > Practical assessment/practical skills demonstration - (30%) - Individual.
CH1002 or CH1012 recommended in addition to CH1001 or CH1011
Prerequisites: (CH1001 OR CH1011)


Townsville, Study Period 1, Internal
Census Date 25-Mar-2021
Coordinator: Dr Mark Robertson
Lecturers: Dr Mark Robertson, Dr Yang Liu.
Workload expectations:

The student workload for this 3 credit point subject is approximately 130 hours.

  • 39 hours lectures (didactic or interactive)
  • 15 hours practicals - 3 x 5 h
  • 10 hours fieldwork
  • assessment and self-directed study

Note: Minor variations might occur due to the continuous Subject quality improvement process, and in case of minor variation(s) in assessment details, the Subject Outline represents the latest official information.