UWA Handbook 2017

Unit details

ENVT4403 Coastal and Estuarine Processes

Credit 6 points
  Offering
(see Timetable)
AvailabilityLocationMode
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Honours option in Environmental Science; Geographical Science; Marine Science [Bachelor of Science (Honours)]
Content Our coasts and estuaries serve as the highly valued interface between terrestrial and marine environments and are under ever increasing pressure around the globe from a variety of factors. Through developing an understanding of the fundamental processes controlling coastal and estuarine ecosystem dynamics, we can quantify their ability to cope with human stresses. In this unit students examine the natural physical and bio-geochemical processes occurring in wave-exposed coastal environments and tide-driven estuaries. In the first section of the unit, topics include ocean wave properties, spectral wave characteristics, wave generation, linear wave theory, nonlinear wave characteristics, wave transformation, numerical wave models, the dynamics of the wave boundary layer, sediment transport fundamentals, coastline development (cross-shore and alongshore), and natural- and human-induced coastline changes. In the second section, the unit transitions into estuarine environments and topics include physical processes that govern estuarine mixing, followed by detail on bio-geochemical processes that shape water quality, and finally an overview of the importance of aquatic food webs and ecosystem response pathways to anthropogenic disturbance.
Outcomes Students are able to (1) demonstrate a knowledge of the core physical and bio-geochemical processes shaping coastal and estuarine environments; (2) understand how to measure and monitor processes operating in coastal environments; and (3) appreciate the link between coastal and estuarine processes and planning and management issues.
Assessment Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) in-class exercises (15 per cent); (2) two field trip reports (25 per cent each); and (3) a final project (35 per cent). Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s) Dr Jeff Hansen
Unit rules
Prerequisites: enrolment in Master of Environmental Science (72530) or Master of Hydrogeology (72540) or Master of Geographic Information Science (71570) or Bachelor of Science (Honours) (BH004)
Advisable prior study: EART3337 Coastal Environments or ENSC3502 Physical Oceanography or ENVT3307 Oceanography
Contact hours The total workload is 150 hours.
Unit Outlinehttp://www.unitoutlines.science.uwa.edu.au/Units/ENVT4403/TS-TP-1/2017

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