Back to: Marine Biology major Marine Biology major

Marine biology is more than just working with dolphins and whales – it also helps make predictions about important changes and problems in the world like global warming, tourism and pollution.

The Marine Biology major will enable you to gain specialised knowledge and experience in marine biological systems, as well as a strong understanding of the application of ecological principles and environmental management strategies.

You will develop breadth of knowledge through a range of disciplines, from the biological sciences like botany and zoology to the physical sciences of chemistry, geography and oceanography.

Careers

As a Marine Biology graduate, you can find employment in both the public and private sectors, in areas including:

  • Research
  • Fisheries
  • Commercial aquaculture
  • Environmental monitoring and assessment
  • Education
  • Tourism.

Subjects you could take in this major

  • The lecture component of this subject covers the main sources and types of environmental contaminants with a focus on water contaminants and their effect on water quality. Frequently used analytical techniques in environmental and industrial monitoring and analysis, not covered in the prerequisite or other second year level chemistry subjects, will be outlined in the context of achieving desirable environmental outcomes. These include: volumetric analysis; gravimetric analysis; optical techniques (inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry); electroanalytical techniques such as potentiometry (ion-selective electrodes, potentiometric stripping analysis) and voltammetry (polarography, anodic stripping voltammetry); analytical separation techniques (ion chromatography, extraction); and automatic analytical techniques (flow injection analysis).

    The practical component of this subject involves the application of chromatographic (ion chromatography, gas chromatography and high performance liquid chromatography), electroanalytical (potentiometry, polarography and anodic stripping volatmmetry) and optical (atomic absorption spectrometry) analytical techniques to environmental samples.

  • The subject describes and evaluates the applications of ecological concepts for the conservation and management of natural and man-made ecosystems. In particular, it identifies the implications of global and local changes for ecological communities and habitats, especially within the Australian environment. It examines approaches to management of terrestrial and aquatic habitats, including the role of genetics, the effects of habitat fragmentation; the control of pest species, and restoration of damaged habitats

  • This subject provides a detailed synthesis of the physical processes and linkages operating within the earth’s coastal systems. The coast is one of the most intensively utilised landscapes worldwide and Australia is no exception. Population densities and development pressures are all rapidly rising providing ever increasing stress on the landscape. Intense human development is however a relatively recent phenomena. Coastal landforms operate over much longer timescales than people. Beaches and dunes have natural cycles of erosion and deposition of decadal to centennial scales while cliffs may have a history of several thousand years. It is therefore impossible to successfully manage, or simply enjoy this environment without knowledge of how it evolved and operates. During this course we will explore the operation and management of the key landforms found at the shore.

  • This subject explores the relevance of ecological and evolutionary theory for understanding the distributions of species, their interactions, their life history characteristics and how these traits are impacted by changing environmental conditions. Topics include spatial ecology and metapopulations, climatic impacts on distribution and abundance, life history evolution and ecosystem stability and resilience. The skills developed in this subject provide an essential grounding for careers in ecology.

  • This subject explores the techniques and methods of undertaking marine biological research, including experimental and sampling design, data collection, statistical analysis of data, presentation of the research results and peer review. Students will participate in a group project, in which they will design, execute, analyse and interpret observational and experimental studies of marine animals in field and laboratory settings.


  • AIMS

    This subject will introduce students to the use of imagery in the mapping of both human and natural environments. Imagery is often the cheapest way to gain spatial information about the environment, especially for large areas, but analysis and interpretation of the data requires sophisticated techniques. Usually the light or other electromagnetic radiation being emitted or reflected from the surface being imaged needs to be interpreted into another variable of interest, such as the type of vegetation on the surface. Once interpreted, the information must be communicated to others; usually in the form of maps or reports.

    This subject builds on a student’s knowledge of the physical and built environment relevant to their discipline and allows them to interpret and communicate that knowledge. On completion of the subject students should have the skills to perform routine image analysis tasks in the workplace using industry standard software. This subject partners with others to the Spatial Systems majors of the undergraduate science and environments degrees to allow the student to progress to the Master of Engineering (Spatial) or to enter the workforce in a paraprofessional role.

    INDICATIVE CONTENT

    • Image interpretation basics
    • Image acquisition and formation
    • Fundamentals of image processing and measurement
    • Both aerial photography and satellite imagery will be used to illustrate the techniques of measurement and interpretation by which both spatial position and semantic content can be extracted from image data.
  • (An enrolment quota of 30 students applies to this subject)

    This subject will introduce students to the biology of marine and estuarine plants (seaweeds, seagrasses and phytoplankton). Fieldwork focuses on the identification, diversity and ecology of Australia's unique marine flora. Topics to be covered include:

    • biodiversity and evolution
    • structure, life history and classification
    • distribution and ecology
    • human impacts and commercial uses
    • gain, spread and loss of photosynthesis in protists
    • role of phytoplankton in the marine environment
  • The oceans cover 71% of the earth’s surface and are vital to the well being of humans in many ways. This subject covers our current understanding of the biology of marine organisms and how marine scientists assess environmental impacts, manage exploited species and conserve biodiversity.

Entry requirements & Prerequisites

This major is available through more than one course, both of which have their own separate entry requirements.

You can read more on the the Bachelor of Science & Bachelor of Science Extended pages.