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MB5400 - Life History and Evolution of Reef Corals

Credit points: 3
Year: 2012
Student Contribution Band: Band 4
Administered by: School of Marine & Tropical Biology

Available to Graduate Diploma of Research Methods, Graduate Certificate of Research Methods, Graduate Diploma of Science, Master of Applied Science, Graduate Certificate of Development Practice, Graduate Diploma of Development Practice, Master of Science and Master of Development Practice. A quota will apply on the basis of marks in MB5002.

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 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. Students will be required to attend lectures and practicals for MB3210.

Learning Outcomes

  • understand life history theory of modular organisms using reef corals as a model;
  • 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 reef corals;
  • 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 lab and field exercises involving literature reviews, data collection, data analyses and critical interpretation.

Graduate Qualities

  • The ability to think critically, to analyse and evaluate claims, evidence and arguments;
  • The ability to define and to solve problems in at least one discipline area;
  • The ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences;
  • The ability to speak and write logically, clearly and creatively;
  • The ability to calculate, produce, interpret and communicate numerical information;
  • The ability to use a variety of media and methods to retrieve, analyse, evaluate, organise and present information;
  • The ability to learn independently and in a self-directed manner;
  • A commitment to lifelong learning and intellectual development.
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 of biometrics, ecological principles and invertebrate biology, and should have completed BS5001.
MB3210 MB3219 MB3330 MB5550


Townsville, Study Period 1, Internal
Census Date 22-Mar-2012
Coord/Lect: Empro Bette Willis.
Workload expectations:
  • 24 hours lectures
  • 36 hours practicals
  • 16 hours fieldwork
Assessment: end of semester exam (40%); presentations (10%); assignments (30%); (20%).

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.