Reef Evolution and Dynamics (BIOL379)

BIOL379 is a 3 CP unit convened by Matthew Kosnik and offered in S1.

Modern coral reefs are dynamic systems consisting of a complicated interplay of biological, chemical and geological processes that presently cover approximately 600,000 square kilometres of the Earth's surface. The aims of this unit are to provide each student with first-hand experience of modern reefs as dynamic systems by using quantitative and qualitative scientific methods and techniques to explore a diverse range of multidisciplinary topics including: reef formation and structure; reef zonation; carbonate sedimentology; biodiversity; ecology; taxonomy; taphonomy; symbiosis; recruitment; bioturbation and bio-erosion; human impacts on reef systems; global warming; and the evolution and importance of reef formation in the geological record. This latter point is a particular focus – students learn about the changes associated with the evolution of reefs through geological time. The study of ancient reefs provides a counterpoint and analogy to the modern reef setting studied in the field. The unit involves a compulsory one day on-campus session and an eight day field excursion to Heron Island Research Station, Capricorn-Bunker Group, Great Barrier Reef (separate excursion fee applies).