Unit description

This unit introduces students to the biology, ecology, threats, conservation, management of human impacts and the ecological importance of cetaceans and other marine mammals, based on international research, and field and case studies in the local region. It will enable students to understand major issues and the nature of research, conservation planning, and management vital for the continued survival and recovery of cetaceans and other marine mammal populations.

Unit content

  1. Marine mammal groups, taxonomy, anatomical adaptations and evolution
  2. Biology and ecology of cetaceans and other marine mammals, reproductive biology, migrations, populations
  3. Physiology, acoustic communication, diet and nutrition, and adaptations to the marine environment
  4. Population ecology of marine mammals
  5. Social structure and behaviour among cetaceans
  6. Human threats to marine mammals, including the history of whaling, harvesting and current threats
  7. Strandings and necropsy studies, including common pathogens
  8. Research techniques including photographic identification, population models, acoustical techniques, databases and research ethics
  9. Tourism and interactions between marine mammals and humans
  10. Global status of cetaceans
  11. Management and conservation planning for cetaceans and other marine mammals

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

Learning outcomes and graduate attributes

Prescribed texts

Session 2

  • No prescribed texts.
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.

Teaching and assessment


Intensive offerings may or may not be scheduled in every session. Please refer to the timetable for further details.

Southern Cross University employs different teaching methods within units to provide students with the flexibility to choose the mode of learning that best suits them. SCU academics strive to use the latest approaches and, as a result, the learning modes and materials may change. The most current information regarding a unit will be provided to enrolled students at the beginning of the study session.

Fee information


Commonwealth Supported courses
For information regarding Student Contribution Amounts please visit the Student Contribution Amounts.
Commencing 2014 Commonwealth Supported only. Student contribution band: 2

Fee paying courses
For POSTGRADUATE or UNDERGRADUATE full fee paying courses please check Domestic Postgraduate Fees OR Domestic Undergraduate Fees


Please check the international course and fee list to determine the relevant fees.