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MB5300 - Sampling and Experimental Design

Credit points: 3
Year: 2019
Student Contribution Band: Band 2
Administered by: College of Science and Engineering

This intensive mode subject aims at revising and extending knowledge of the design of sampling and monitoring programs in marine environments and the design of manipulative experiments. The subject concentrates on the development of sampling strategies and experiments, emphasising theoretical, practical and statistical considerations. Students are expected to extend their skills and demonstrate their understanding of: the types of data that might be generated, some of the analyses that are available for particular purposes, the assumptions that underpin those analyses, how to interpret the end product of the analyses, and the need for a critical and informed approach to statistical analysis. The subject is designed for postgraduate students whose future professional activities are likely to require an understanding of the design and analysis of marine ecological studies and the interpretation of the output from statistical software in a biological context. The first week of the subject involves lectures and computer workshops on sampling design and statistical analyses. The 2nd week of the subject includes a field trip to Orpheus Island research station during which student's apply theoretical content acquired in week 1. The field trip is primarily devoted to student's developing and undertaking an independent, field based, research project in coral reef ecology. Students will incur extra costs to cover travel and accommodation expenses for the field trip.

Learning Outcomes

  • critique and design scientifically sound sampling and experimental design projects to address an array of marine biological and ecological questions;
  • select and apply appropriate statistical analyses for a range of sampling regimes and data types, and subsequently interpret the results in their ecological context;
  • problem solve complex issues in the acquisition, analysis, interpretation and communication of scientific research in marine biology and ecology;
  • initiate, design, undertake and communicate an independent field based research project in marine biology and ecology, thereby demonstrating competency in marine science research.
Students enrolling in this subject should have an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline or have acquired equivalent knowledge through other study. They should have an excellent understanding ecological principles and statistics, and have successfully completed a basic univariate statistics course at university level


Townsville, Block, Study Period 7
Census Date 11-Jul-2019
Face to face teaching 24-Jun-2019 to 08-Jul-2019
Coordinator: Dr Naomi Gardiner
Lecturers: Dr Naomi Gardiner, <Person not found>, Professor Geoffrey Jones, <Person not found>.
Workload expectations:

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

  • 63 hours - Combined teaching hours; lectures, workshops, fieldwork
  • assessment and self-directed study
Assessment: presentations (10%); statistics & design workbook (25%); sampling methods short report (15%); independent research project (50%).

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.