BIOSCI 334 : Biology of Marine Organisms


2021 Semester One (1213) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Not only is the earth predominantly oceanic, but higher marine biodiversity occurs on the shallower continental shelf/coastal areas. Students will learn the key groups of marine organisms within New Zealand’s waters. Attention will be given to understanding their diversity, distribution and adaptations to thrive within the dynamic marine environment.

Course Overview

This course seeks to equip students with the latest knowledge and skillsets within the realm of marine biology. To do this students will attend three lectures a week and a lab session every two weeks. The goal is to illuminate lecture content with application of the material. Organisms covered range from algae (micro/macro) through to zooplankton, invertebrates, sharks, fish seabirds and mammals. Students will be taught by the nations leading experts in these areas, and an emphasis will be placed on form and function of various taxa of importance.

This course is involved in the marine biology, ecology, and zoology pathways of SBS. Likely jobs are with private companies and consultancies, engineering firms, crown research institutes i.e. NIWA, Plant and Food, academic institutes (Universities, Polytechnics)

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: BIOSCI 108, 109 and 15 points from BIOSCI 206, 207, 208

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. You will be able to describe the diversity of key marine organisms, their evolutionary history, biogeography, and adaptations to their environments. (Capability 1)
  2. Analyse and evaluate: You will utilize contemporary biological research techniques to conduct experiments, and use quantitative and/or statistical approaches to analyze the results and draw appropriate conclusions. (Capability 2 and 5)
  3. Synthesise and apply knowledge of physical and chemical processes of oceans and the biology of organisms to ask questions about natural history and ecology. (Capability 3)
  4. Critically evaluate and reflect on hypotheses about marine-related scientific questions and understand how experiments are executed to test those hypotheses. (Capability 3)
  5. Communicate effectively in written and oral form, demonstrating the ability to create an appropriate annotated bibliography and the ability to use effective presentation skills. (Capability 4)
  6. Be able to have a sense of community responsibility and develop awareness of scientific issues in marine biology within the larger social context (Capability 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Quizzes 20% Individual Test
Laboratories 40% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Final Exam

Students must pass the practical (Labs 1- 5) and the theory (Quizzes 1-6, and Final Exam) independently to pass the course overall


The Tuākana Biology Programme is a learning community for our Māori and Pacifica students. Please connect with us by contacting the course coordinator Brendon Dunphy

Key Topics

Phytoplankton and algae
Marine invertebrates
Sharks and rays
Teleost fish
Marine mammals

Special Requirements

Must complete lab safety forms
Must pass laboratories to pass

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 30 hours of lectures, 18 hours of laboratories, 62 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 40 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities i.e. labs to complete components of the course.
Lecture attendance is highly recommended as that way you are not playing catch up. However lectures will be available as recordings as we understand the time constraints faced by students. 
The course will not include live online events unless Covid lockdowns are in place.
Attendance on campus might be required for the exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable/block delivery. 

A remote version of the course can be made available to students located overseas because of border restrictions, or those with an exemption to study remotely

Learning Resources

No textbook is prescribed, but lecturers will consult the primary scientific literature for their lecture material.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Level 1:  Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode 
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person.  All teaching and assessment will have a remote option.  The following activities will also have an on campus / in person option: [Lectures, labs, tutorials, office hours, field trips, etc.] 
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 23/09/2021 06:15 p.m.