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Unit outline_

BIOL3913: Marine Biology (Advanced)

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Remote

Qualified students will participate in alternative components of the BIOL3013 Marine Biology unit. The content and nature of these components may vary from year to year but generally involves an individual or group project, conducted with unit instructors, which takes the place of one of the practical-based assessments.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
An average mark of 75 or above in [12cp of BIOL2XXX] OR [6cp of BIOL2XXX and (MBLG2X72 or GEGE2X01 or GENE2002)]
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator William Figueira,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Record+) Type B final exam Final exam
Short answer & MCQ
40% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Kelp data exercise
Short responses to specific questions related to the practical activity.
15% Week 05
Due date: 09 Sep 2021 at 23:59
4 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO5
Assignment Advanced report
Report based on data collection and analysis done as part of project.
30% Week 11
Due date: 28 Oct 2021 at 23:59
8 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment UVC data exercise
Short responses to specific questions related to the practical activity.
15% Week 13
Due date: 11 Nov 2021 at 23:59
4 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO5
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?

Assessment summary

  • Data exercise: Data exercises are intended to assess students’ ability to develop and plan experiments or to manipulate, analyse, visualise and interpret data. Data exercises will typically require responses to a series of specific questions rather than any sort of full scientific report.
  • Report: Reports are intended give students practice in the full process of writing up scientific data. Students will typically use data derived from specific practicals and will have a hypothesis that they have either generated or has been supplied as part of the practical.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to class and the marine environment Lecture (1 hr)  
Marine diversity Lecture (1 hr)  
Introduction/using excel Practical (3 hr)  
Week 02 Marine diversity Lecture (1 hr)  
Macroalgae and the Great Southern Reef Lecture (1 hr)  
Marine macrophytes - 1 Practical (3 hr)  
Week 03 Macroalgae and the Great Southern Reef Lecture (1 hr)  
Macroalgae and the Great Southern Reef Lecture (1 hr)  
Marine macrophytes - 2 Field trip (4 hr)  
Week 04 Macroalgae and the Great Southern Reef Lecture (1 hr)  
Sea meets land Lecture (1 hr)  
Marine macrophytes - 3 Practical (3 hr)  
Week 05 Sea meets land Lecture (1 hr)  
Sea meets land Lecture (1 hr)  
Estuaries Field trip (3 hr)  
Week 06 Sea meets land Lecture (1 hr)  
Marine mammals Lecture (1 hr)  
Structural complexity - 1 Practical (3 hr)  
Week 07 Marine mammals Lecture (1 hr)  
Marine mammals Lecture (1 hr)  
Structural complexity - 2 Field trip (4 hr)  
Week 08 Marine mammals Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 09 Populations Lecture (1 hr)  
Populations Lecture (1 hr)  
Structural complexity - 3 Practical (3 hr)  
Week 10 Populations Lecture (1 hr)  
Populations Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 11 Populations Lecture (1 hr)  
Research talk Lecture (1 hr)  
Fish & reserves - 1 Practical (3 hr)  
Week 12 Humans and the sea: climate change Lecture (1 hr)  
Humans and the sea: fisheries Lecture (1 hr)  
Fish & reserves - 2 Field trip (4 hr)  
Week 13 Humans and the sea: marine reserves Lecture (1 hr)  
Humans and the sea: urbinisation and ecoengineering Lecture (1 hr)  
Fish & reserves - 3 Practical (3 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

Lectures are expected to be face-to-face in 2021.  Lectures will be streamed live for remote students and recorded. Lecture notes will be made available. You are strongly encouraged to attend all lectures.

Attendance at all pracs is required. If you have an excused absence via the special consideration process, you will need to contact the Unit Coordinator to receive instructions about making up the missed content.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. describe and discuss the concepts associated with organismal and environmental processes in marine communities
  • LO2. identify and discuss some of the current topics in marine research
  • LO3. design and complete experimental and observational research in marine systems
  • LO4. critically read, evaluate and synthesise information from the primary literature
  • LO5. conduct analysis of data and communicate your findings concisely and scientifically in both written and graphical forms.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Worked to streamline marking process to provide more timely feedback.

Simple extensions

The University Coursework Policy (2014 amended 2 March 2021) on simple extensions (66A, pp 54-55) states that:

  1. A unit of study co-ordinator, who is satisfied that it is appropriate to do so, may permit a student to submit a non-examination task up to two working days after the due date with no penalty.
  2. Such permission is an informal arrangement between the unit of study co-ordinator and the student which does not:
    1. affect the student’s entitlement to apply for special consideration under this policy;
    2. alter any time limits or other requirements relating to applications for special consideration; or
    3. constitute an academic decision for the purposes of the University of Sydney (Student Appeals against Academic Decisions) Rule 2006.


The policy provided no guidelines as to what is appropriate for simple extensions.

In this unit, we will consider simple extension requests for the following (or similar): death of relative, close personal friend or pet; sudden change of carer’s duties due to illness, injury or misadventure. Please do not assume your request will automatically be granted.
Note: paid or volunteer employment, other assessments or computer/software malfunctions are not appropriate grounds for simple extensions.

Additional costs

Students must make their own way to field sites which may incur a small cost (public transport).

Site visit guidelines

Risk assessments for all field practicals will be made available. Acknowledgement of acceptance of conditions therein will be required as a condition of attendance.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General laboratory safety rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances 
  • A laboratory coat and closed-toe shoes are mandatory 
  • Follow safety instructions in your manual and posted in laboratories 
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door 
  • First aid kits, eye wash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory 

As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service:


Field Safety Rules and Procedures

You will be provided with a risk assessment for each field trip practical in the class. You are expected to read and abide by its contents.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.