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MB3210 - Life History and Evolution of Reef Corals

Credit points: 3
Year: 2023
Student Contribution Band: Band 2
Administered by: College of Science and Engineering

This subject requires prior approval from the program co-ordinator. All students must meet the pre-requisite requirements.

An introduction to the biology of corals and physiological processes involved in building reefs. An overview of the life histories of sessile, modular organisms, incorporating current research findings with respect to reproductive strategies and early life histories, algal symbiosis, and the evolutionary biology of corals. Aspects of the functional morphology and physiology of corals will be explored in relation to major issues impacting coral reefs, particularly bleaching and disease. A 2 day field trip to Orpheus Island Research Station will include an introduction to the taxonomy of reef-building corals and to lab and field research methods for the study of reef corals. The subject complements MB3190.

Learning Outcomes

  • gain knowledge of the anatomical features and physiological specialisations of corals that are keys to understanding how corals build reefs;
  • gain awareness of issues underlying long-term conservation and management of coral reefs;
  • gain a working knowledge of the identification and classification of the major families and genera of reef-building corals;
  • develop skills required for independent research through laboratory and field exercises involving literature reviews, data collection, data analyses and critical interpretation;
  • understand life history theory of modular organisms using reef corals as a model.

Subject Assessment

  • Written > Examination (centrally administered) - (55%) - Individual
  • Written > Test/Quiz 1 - (10%) - Individual
  • Written > Field report - (25%) - Individual
  • Written > Lab/Practical report - (10%) - Individual.
Students enrolling in this subject should have a good understanding of biometrics, ecological principles and invertebrate biology. A minimum mark of Credit in MB2060 OR BS2460 is required for entry in this subject.
Prerequisites: (SC2202 OR SC2209 OR BS2001 OR BZ2001 OR AG2001) and at least a result of CREDIT in MB2060 OR BS2460
MB3219 MB3330 MB5400 MB5550


Townsville, Study Period 1, Internal
Census Date 23-Mar-2023
Coord/Lect: Professor David Bourne.
Workload expectations:

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

  • 13 hours lectures
  • 33 hours workshops
  • 16 hours fieldwork
  • assessment and self-directed study
Restrictions: An enrolment quota applies to this offering.
Enrolment in this offering is restricted.

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.