Unit description

Introduces students to (1) the biogeochemical processes that operate in coastal systems, (2) the procedures for planning and conducting environmental sampling and monitoring programs for monitoring ecosystem processes, (3) modern wet chemical and instrumental analytical techniques that are part of environmental sampling and monitoring programs and (4) the techniques to analyse synthesise, and interpret a biogeochemical data set and produce a technical report with a plain English summary.

Unit content

Topic 1: Material loadings to coastal ecosystems
Topic 2: Estuarine hydrography, mixing characteristics and residence times
Topic 3: Phytoplankton and primary productivity
Topic 4: Biogeochemical cycles
Topic 5: Sediment biogeochemistry
Topic 6: Climate change and ocean acidification
Topic 7: Measuring biogeochemical processes
Topic 8: Human impacts on biogeochemical cycles
Topic 9: Stable isotopes and biomarkers
Topic 10: Case studies in coastal biogeochemistry
Topic 11: Standard sample collection, handling, preservation and storage procedures for sediment, water, and biological samples
Topic 12: Modern analytical methods including FIA, MIMS, EA-IRMS, GC-IRMS

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 1

  • No prescribed texts.

Session 3

  • Prescribed text information is not currently available.
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.

Teaching and assessment


Teaching method
Lecture on-site 2 hours (11 weeks)
Laboratory session 3 hours (11 weeks)
Field work 10 hours (2 days)
Completed data sheets5%
Results section5%
Critical review20%
Exam: closed book20%

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 2015 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.