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MB5160 - Evolution and Ecology of Reef Fishes

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

This subject will examine the biology of coral reef fishes with an emphasis on species from reefs and adjacent waters of the Great Barrier Reef. The subject covers the ecology, morphology, systematics and evolution of coral reef fishes. Practical work includes a laboratory and field program that introduces functional morphology, ecology and field identification of coral reef fishes. This subject will also provide an introduction to laboratory and field research methods. Students will be required to attend lectures, practicals and field trips as for MB3160, and write a research proposal of an ecological study of reef fishes.

Learning Outcomes

  • critically evaluate both the methods and outcomes of reef fish research;
  • identify the major groups of reef fishes and their ecological and morphological characteristics;
  • understand the functional morphology, ecology and evolution of these fishes and use this knowledge in assessing the role of fishes on coral reefs;
  • understand and be familiar with the methods used to study the ecology of reef fishes and design an ecological study of reef fish species;
  • have a demonstrable knowledge of the current literature relevant to reef fish ecology and evolution.

Subject Assessment

  • Written > Examination (centrally administered) - (60%) - Individual
  • Research proposal and oral presentation - (20%) - Individual
  • Performance/Practice/Product > Practical assessment/practical skills demonstration - (20%) - Group.
Students must have an excellent understanding of EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY which includes knowledge of biogeography, marine organisms and vertebrate anatomy as well as a good understanding of STATISTICS and ECOLOGY of marine systems. (MB5070 or MB2070) AND (SC5202 or SC2202 or SC2209) AND (BS5460 or BS2460) or will have acquired equivalent knowledge through industry or previous study.
Prerequisites: MB5070
MB3160 MB3169


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

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

  • 33 hours lectures
  • 24 hours workshops
  • 1 hours seminars
  • 4 days 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.