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.

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Unit Overview


Oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth's surface, which have enabled the evolution of complex life, control the Earth's climate and weather, and provide food for a significant portion of the world's population. The human influence on the oceans is significant and growing, driving change in a range of important physical, chemical and biological ocean processes in marine and coastal environments.

The unit will explore the extent to which humans are driving environmental change in the ocean, and the impacts of this change. Students will learn about:

(i) the responses of the oceans to climate change, including sea level rise, changes to polar oceanography, marine heatwaves, carbon cycles, extreme weather events, ocean acidification and deoxygenation.

(ii) the impacts of human pollution of the ocean environment, including from plastics, oil spills, high nutrient concentrations and noise, and the transport processes that control the fate of these pollutants.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) articulate the capacity of human activity to drive critical changes in key ocean processes in marine and coastal environments; (2) explain how climate change affects ocean processes, such as sea level rise, polar oceanography, marine heatwaves, extreme events and ocean acidification and deoxygenation.; (3) describe how the Carbon cycle in the ocean has been altered by increased atmospheric Carbon dioxide; (4) detail the full range of anthropogenic pollutants in the world's oceans and the global extent of this pollution; (5) communicate an understanding of the transport processes that govern pollutant fate in the world's oceans.; and (6) critically evaluate diverse sources of information and data describing ocean processes..


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) quizzes; (2) written assignments; and (3) project. 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)
Associate Professor Nicole Jones
Contact hours
2 hours lectures per week and 3 hours practical sessions per week
  • 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.