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


This unit provides an overview of the dynamic processes governing the structure and function of marine ecosystems, with a particular focus on applications from the Indian Ocean. The unit introduces key concepts in physical, chemical, biological and geological ocean systems to explore—

  • the geological formation and climate history of the Indian Ocean and its modern environmental characteristics;
  • the role of weather and climate variability in driving regional ocean processes;
  • the dynamics of ocean circulation and waves within the Indian Ocean;
  • the diversity of marine habitats and species across the Indian Ocean, focusing on biodiversity and drivers of distribution and abundance;
  • how physical ocean processes shape marine ecosystems along the Indian Ocean rim; and
  • the influence on climate change on the physical, chemical and biological oceanography of the Indian Ocean and future projections.
6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 2OnlineOnline timetabled

Students are able to (1) demonstrate a knowledge of how the Indian Ocean has formed and its climate history, including the processes that have led to its modern environmental conditions; (2) identify how weather systems and climate cycles drive ocean processes through atmosphere–ocean coupling; (3) demonstrate an awareness of the regional ocean circulation patterns and wave conditions along the Indian Ocean rim, and assess the dominant physical drivers responsible; (4) demonstrate an understanding of the major marine habitats, ecosystems and species in the Indian Ocean, and link oceanic physical and chemical processes to the uniqueness and diversity of marine biota; (5) demonstrate an awareness of the major biogeochemical cycles in the ocean than shape marine ecosystems, and how these vary across the Indian Ocean; and (6) identify how climate change has altered modern ocean conditions across the Indian Ocean and the future projections and impacts.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) in-class exercises; (2) two field/laboratory reports; and (3) final 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)
Professor Charitha Pattiaratchi
  • 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.