Unit description

Students will learn:   1. To identify and interpret the biogeochemical processes that operate in coastal waters, including mangroves, coral reefs, estuaries, seagrass beds, and embayments. 2. Current procedures for planning and conducting environmental sampling and monitoring programs for quantifying coastal biogeochemical processes. 3. Modern analytical techniques that are part of biogeochemical monitoring and research in coastal waters. 4. To critically analyse, synthesise, and interpret a complex biogeochemical dataset. 5. Produce a technical and/or scientific report with a plain English summary.

Unit content

Topic 1:   Material loadings to coastal ecosystems via rivers, groundwater and atmosphere.
Topic 2:   Estuarine hydrography, mixing and residence times.
Topic 3:   Phytoplankton-related biogeochemical processes.
Topic 4:   Sediment biogeochemistry.
Topic 5:   Biogeochemical cycles in coastal waters.
Topic 6:   Greenhouse gas sources and sinks.
Topic 7:   Feedbacks between climate change and coastal biogeochemical processes.
Topic 8:   Local human impacts on coastal biogeochemical cycles.
Topic 9:   Isotopes as tracers of biogeochemical processes.
Topic 10:  Standard sample collection, handling, preservation and storage procedures for sediment, water, and biological samples.
Topic 11:  Measuring biogeochemical processes using cutting edge techniques.
Topic 12:  Case studies in coastal biogeochemistry: latest SCU and global research.

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 3

  • 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 2016 Commonwealth Supported only. Student contribution band: 2

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