MARINE 703 : Marine Protected Areas


2024 Semester Two (1245) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Current research related to marine protected areas is reviewed, including planning principles and processes for designing marine protected areas, and its role in science, conservation of biological diversity, and fisheries. Practical components include visits to marine reserves, exposure to planning software, and analysis of marine protected related data. The knowledge and skills gained are applied with an independent research project.

Course Overview

MARINE 703 Marine Protected Areas uses a number of approaches to develop highly specialised knowledge and skills in the field of marine protected areas, and then requires students to apply these through a large independent project (55% final grade). 

Students are given a series of seminars by leading researchers and practitioners in the field, which provides specialist knowledge on the current issues in Marine Protected Area (MPA) management and the latest findings from MPA research. Students gain additional knowledge by undertaking a critical review of recent literature and through field trips to two marine reserves in the Auckland region. A number of fundamental skills are taught and assessed, including critical assessment of literature and peer review, designing and planning research, communicating research plans and findings through seminars. The course also teaches important practical skills specific to the field of MPAs, in particular a practical assessment (20% final grade) using the Zonation MPA planning software. Current research related to MPAs is reviewed, including planning principles and processes for designing MPAs, and the role of MPAs in science, conservation of biological diversity, and fisheries. Practical components include visits to marine reserves, learning MPA planning software, and analysis of MPA related data. The knowledge and skills gained are applied with an independent research project on a related topic.

The knowledge and skill gained above are applied in an independent research project worth 55% of the final grade. The goal is to select a topic or question and conduct original research into it, and report this as a research paper. It can be a desk-based study or research project involving data collection and analysis. Marks are split between the final written paper, a proposal and two prior presentations on the topic to the class. Students are required to demonstrate advanced knowledge of their field, develop and present their new ideas within this project.

On completion of MARINE 703 students will be literate, highly knowledgeable, and articulate in science and management issues around MPA with appropriate professional skills in scientific methods and communication.

Course Requirements

Restriction: ENVSCI 726

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Develop a specialist knowledge in marine protected area research and management, including critical assessment of the latest research and understanding of the current issues facing marine conservation. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8)
  2. Be able to demonstrate mastery in the design of a network of marine protected areas using specialist planning tools and software. (Capability 3, 5, 7 and 8)
  3. Be able to design and undertake a research project that investigates a fundamental question about marine protected areas, and demonstrate mastery in the analysis, interpretation and communication of research findings. (Capability 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Presentation 10% Individual Coursework
Assignments 20% Individual Coursework
Practical 25% Individual Coursework
Project 45% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3


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Special Requirements

Attendance at seminars is compulsory. Must complete practical work and participate in field trips.

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 28 hours of lectures, 6 hours of labs, and two field trips (16 hours), 30 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 70 hours of work on assignments/project.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including labs and field trips in order to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including field trips and labs will not be available as recordings.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable delivery.

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.

A list of core references are provided, but students are expected to search available literature to support their own research topic

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.

We particularly welcome constructive feedback.

Other Information

All students are expected to attend classes, labs and field trips in person, except for those international students still overseas due to border restrictions.

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 for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

The plagiarism-detection software Turnitin is used to check all submitted written work.

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 06/11/2023 08:40 a.m.