BIOSCI 334 : Biology of Marine Organisms


2023 Semester One (1233) (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

BIOSCI 334 has been designed as an advanced marine biology course where students gain knowledge about the immense biodiversity within the world’s oceans. It is designed for students wishing to progress in marine biology or within whole organism biology. However, biological science students of all pathways will find this course interesting. Graduates of this course may go on to work as marine biologists in consultancies, local and central government, Universities, Crown Research Institutes or NGO's. 

Students will gain practical experience to support their theoretical knowledge. Real world problem solving exercises are used to illuminate crucial features of select groups of marine organisms and their adaptations to their environment. 

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. Evaluate the diversity of key marine organisms, their evolutionary history, biogeography, and adaptations to their environments (Capability 1)
  2. Use 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. Demonstrate an understanding of physical and chemical processes of oceans and the biology of organisms to ask questions about natural history and ecology (Capability 3)
  4. Develop 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. Demonstrate 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

A pass must be gained in BOTH coursework (quizzes and final exam 60%) AND laboratories (40%) to pass this course.


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

The Tuākana Biology Programme is a learning community for Māori and Pasifika students in the School of Biological Sciences. Contact Brendon Dunphy ( for details on how to connect with the Tuākana programme and the social events and study sessions we run.

Key Topics

1. Algae
2. Zooplankton
3. Invertebrates
4. Sharks
5. Fish
6. Seabirds
7. Marine mammals

Special Requirements

Students will be made aware of lab and health & safety requirements at the start of laboratories, and are expected to strictly adhere to them for their own safety.

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 3 hours of lectures a week, a 3 hour lab every fortnight, and 4 hours of reading & thinking about the content and 4 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation per week.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including labs to complete components of the course.
Attendance at lectures is HIGHLY recommended to ensure you keep up with content. However, lectures will be available as recordings. 
The course will not include live online events.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning 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.

Lecturers will provide powerpoint slides listing necessary resources for their content.

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.

Staff welcome feedback on the course throughout the semester, including the SET evaluations. Please contact your course coordinator or student representative at any time with your feedback

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.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


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 course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

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 students may be asked to submit 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. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 01/11/2022 09:36 a.m.