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SC5810 - Marine Ecology and Upwelling

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

The Galapagos is the 'mecca' of biological studies. The islands that make up the Galapagos archipelago have a unique flora, fauna, geology and oceanography that is located on the equator. Impacts on coastal waters are primarily from interannual variation in the oceanography (especially El Nino/La Nina) and, to a lesser extent fisheries and tourism. An understanding of tropical marine environments requires knowledge of local biodiversity and how this can vary greatly by ocean. This subject focuses on the ecology of marine organisms in an environment of strong upwelling at the Galapagos Islands - on the Eastern side of the Pacific Ocean. The Galapagos is subjected to the extremes of warm water from El Nino and strong and cold upwelling from normal conditions and especially La Nina. The oceanography affecting the Galapagos also impacts Australia, accordingly trans-Pacific linkages are discussed. Biogeographically the area has a strong eastern Pacific flavour and unique species diversity due to upwelling. The subject will enhance core ecological skills and will provide an increased knowledge of marine organisms on tropical reefs of the world and, while enhancing an understanding of steep to sustain a world heritage area.

There are additional charges for this subject; please contact the School for details.

Learning Outcomes

  • demonstrate theoretical knowledge of principles in marine ecology through oral and written modes of presentation;
  • critically evaluate both the limitations and the potential for extractive marine industries fisheries in the Galapagos environment;
  • demonstrate practical proficiency in sampling reefs, and diagnosing upwelling conditions and anthropogenic impacts;
  • apply marine ecology principles in the unique setting of the Galapagos Islands to the writing of projects and to critique paradigms relating to marine assemblages and the bottom-up effect of upwelling;
  • demonstrate a holistic understanding of the unique Galapagos ecosystems through oral and written modes of presentation.
prior knowledge of marine biology, statistics and sampling designs


Townsville, Study Period 7, Block
Census Date 11-Jul-2019
Face to face teaching 11-Jul-2019 to 23-Jul-2019
Coord/Lect: Professor Michael Kingsford.
Workload expectations:

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

  • 10 hours lectures - theory and specific of the Galapagos
  • 50 hours practicals - field experiences intertidal, snorkelling and SCUBA (for some)
  • 5 hours workshops/Seminars - short students seminars and scenarios
  • assessment and self-directed study
Assessment: other exams (25%); quizzes or tests (25%); multidraft Essays (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.