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MB5070 - Marine Biogeography

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

Available to postgraduate science students.

This subject examines the basic concepts of evolution, systematics and biogeography as they relate to the marine realm. It will focus on the application of methods used to study evolution and biogeography and will draw on a wide range of evidence from molecular data, through distribution records, the fossil record and life history traits to larval duration to explain biodiversity in the marine environment. It will review several case histories to demonstrate the role of historical events in determining distributions of marine taxa and contrast this with the role of ecological factors in maintaining marine populations. Students will be required to attend lectures, tutorials and practical classes in MB2070 and to complete a series of research-focussed assessment items.

Learning Outcomes

  • critically evaluate current concepts of marine species and factors influencing speciation and distribution patterns and formulate questions for further research;
  • understand the evolutionary history, life history, distribution patterns and speciation patterns of marine organisms;
  • understand and be familiar with the methods used to study the biogeography of marine organisms and the application of historical and ecological biogeographic analysis in the study of marine systems;
  • understand the role of historical events in shaping marine assemblages and contrast this with the role of ecological factors in maintaining populations;
  • have a demonstrable knowledge of the current literature relevant to marine evolution and biogeography.

Subject Assessment

  • Written > Examination (centrally administered) - (50%) - Individual
  • Written > Test/Quiz 1 - (15%) - Individual
  • Postgrad assessment: paper critique, symposium presentation & diary - (20%) - Individual
  • Written > Lab/Practical report - (15%) - Individual.
Students enrolling in this subject should have an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. biology or environmental science) or have acquired equivalent knowledge through other study. They should have an excellent understanding of science subjects, particularly biology, geological processes and ecological principles.


Townsville, Study Period 1, Internal
Census Date 23-Mar-2023
Coordinator: Dr Orpha Bellwood
Lecturers: Professor David Bellwood, Dr Orpha Bellwood.
Workload expectations:

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

  • 26 hours lectures
  • 3 hours was Practicals
  • 16 hours workshops - Computer workshops
  • 1 hours was Other - test
  • 3 hours seminars
  • 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.