Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


Aquatic environments such as lakes, rivers, estuaries and coasts, supply a diversity of ecosystem services that support humanity. They have also been subject to exploitation and degradation at a global scale in response to development pressures. Critical to planning for the sustainable use and management of aquatic environments is an understanding of the physical, chemical and biological processes that govern ecosystem interactions and their ability to support biodiversity. This unit provides students with an understanding of how inland and marine ecosystems function, and develops practical skills associated with field, laboratory and modelling based investigations. Case studies of diverse aquatic system types are explored, and associated issues including contamination, Harmful Algal Blooms, habitat loss and biodiversity loss are explored. Management approaches and technologies to restore and sustainably develop aquatic environments are also covered, including approaches to environmental water delivery, nutrient management and ecosystem restoration. Students will participate in a five day field trip. In 2019 the field trip is in Albany.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 2AlbanyFace to face

Students are able to (1) apply knowledge of aquatic ecosystem function across freshwater, estuarine and marine environments; (2) evaluate how different threats to aquatic systems alter ecosystem functions and processes and interpret how these manifest in biodiversity outcomes; (3) evaluate scientifically-based remediation strategies for aquatic environments, with consideration of the environmental and economic implications that will determine successful implementation; and (4) evaluate examples of successful policies and governance approaches that can support aquatic system sustainability.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) opinion paper; (2) conceptual model; and (3) research report. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Paul Close
Unit rules
Enrolment in
72530 Master of Environmental Science
or 72520 Master of Biological Science
or 71580 Master of Biotechnology
or 74540 Master of Marine Biology
or HON-ENVSC Environmental Science
or HON-GGRPY Geographical Sciences
Incidental fees
Incidental student fees and charges are costs incurred by students as part of their studies at UWA that are in addition to their tuition fees (further information is available here).
Participation in this unit will incur the following incidental fee(s):
Field trip accommodation and food expenses (estimated cost - $55 per day , up to $275).
Contact hours
1x2hr lecture
1x3hr laboratory/practical
plus a field trip
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.