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F 49R Marine systems study guide

This product is proudly Australian Made

ISBN : 978-1-86283-173-5

Published Date : 10 May 2019

Product Code : F 49R

Format : Free PDF for download

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FREE PDF of Marine systems power points thanks to sponsors: 

PIEFA - Primary Industries Education Foundation of Australia

GBRMPA - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Reef Guardians Program

MTAQ - Marine Teachers Association of Queensland for conference and workshop support

Thanks to the following foundation schools, PIEFA, GBRMPA and Wet Paper

Bentley Park College, Bribie Island SHS, Burdekin Christian College, Burnside SHS, Caboolture State High School, Caloundra SHS, Chanel College, Cleveland District SHS, Clontarf Beach SHS, Discovery Christian College, Gladstone SHS, Iona College, Kawana Waters State College, Marymount College, Matthew Flinders College, Miami State High School, Mirani SHS, Mountain Creek SHS, Pioneer State High School, Proserpine SHS, Redlands College, Redlynch State College, Sarina SHS, Southern Cross Catholic College, St Andrew's Anglican College, St Brendans Yeppoon, St Patrick's College, St Peters College, Sunshine Beach SHS, Tagai State College, Trinity Anglican Cairns, Unity College Caloundra, Urangan SHS, Xavier Catholic College, Yeppoon State High School.

Teachers Information




Unit 3: Marine systems – connections and change

Topic 1: The reef and beyond


Section 13. Coral reef distribution

S13 Coral reef distribution 

T070 Identify reefs globally

T071 Coral geographic distribution

T072 Coral geological record

T073 GBR and sea level change

T074 Reef structures

T075 Reef cross-section zonation

Subject matter statements

T 070    Identify the distribution of coral reefs globally and in Australia 

T 071 Identify abiotic factors that have affected the geographic distribution of corals over geological time including dissolved oxygen, light availability, salinity, temperature, substrate, aragonite and low levels of nitrates and phosphates 

T 072 Recall that corals first appeared within the geological record over 250 million years ago but not in Australian waters until approximately 500 000 years ago 

T 073 Recognise that the Great Barrier Reef of today has been shaped by changes in sea levels that began over 20 000 years before present (BP) and only stabilised 6500 years BP 

T 074 Recall the different types of reef structure (e.g. fringing, platform, ribbon, atolls, coral cays) 

T 075 Recognise the zonation within a reef cross-section (e.g. reef slope, reef crest/rim, lagoon/back reef). 


Section 14. Coral reef development 

S14 Coral reef development 

T076 Coral groups

T077 Classify to genus

T078 Coral anatomy

T079 Coral limestone skeleton

T080 Coral feeding

T081 Coral symbiosis

T082 Coral life cycle

T083 Larval dispersal

T084 How reefs grow

T085 Abiotic factors affecting reef distribution

Subject matter statements

T 076 Recall the following groups of coral: Alcyonacea ‘soft corals’ and the two morphological groups within Scleractinia ‘hard corals’ — reef-forming/ hermatypic and non-reef forming/ ahermatypic

T 077 Classify a specific coral to genus level only, using a relevant identification key 

T 078 Identify the anatomy of a typical reef-forming hard coral including skeleton, corallite, coelenteron, coral polyp, tentacles, nematocyst, mouth and zooxanthellae 

T 079 Recall that the limestone skeleton of a coral is built when calcium ions [Ca2+] combine with carbonate ions [CO32–] 

T 080 Describe the process of coral feeding (including night-feeding patterns and the function of nematocysts) 

T 081 Identify and describe the symbiotic relationships in a coral colony (including polyp interconnections and zooxanthellae) 

T 082 Recall the life cycle stages of a typical reef-forming hard coral (asexual: fragmentation, polyp detachment; sexual: gametes, zygotes, planulae, polyp/asexual budding) 

T 083 Explain the process of larval dispersal, site selection, settlement and recruitment 

T 084 Explain that growth of reefs is dependent on accretion processes being greater than destructive processes 

T 085 Assess data of abiotic factors (e.g. dissolved oxygen, salinity, substrate) that affect the distribution of coral reefs. 


Section 15. Reef habitats and connectivity 

S15 Reef habitats and connectivity - 

T086 Corals as engineers

T087 Reef rugosity

T088 Connectivity in reef ecosystems

T089 Fish life cycles

T090 Fish reef benefits

T091 Ecological tipping points

T092 Reef hysteresis

T093 Assess reef diversity

T094 Analyse reef diversity

T095 Interpret reef changes

T096 Water quality on reefs

T097 Water quality overall effects

T098 Conduct connectivity experiment  

Subject matter statements

T 086 Recognise that corals are habitat formers or ecosystem engineers 

T 087 Explain that habitat complexity (rugosity), established by corals, influences diversity of other species 

T 088 Explain connectivity between ecosystems and the role this plays in species replenishment 

T 089 Understand that fish life cycles are integrated within a variety of habitats including reef and estuarine systems

T 090 Describe how fish, particularly herbivore populations, benefit coral reefs 

T 091 Identify ecological tipping points and how this applies to coral reefs 

T 092 Describe hysteresis and how this applies to the concept of reef resilience 

T 093 Assess the diversity of a reef system using a measure that could include (but is not limited to) line intercept transects, quadrats and fish counts using underwater video survey techniques, benthic surveys, invertebrate counts and rugosity measurements 

T 094 Analyse reef diversity data, using an index, to determine rank abundance 

T 095 Interpret, with reference to regional trends, how coral cover has changed on a reef over time 

T 096 Recognise that some of the factors that reduce coral cover  (e.g. crown-of-thorns) are directly linked to water quality 

T 097 Understand that the processes in this sub-topic interact to have an overall net effect, i.e. they do not occur in isolation. 

T 098 Examine the concept of connectivity in a habitat by investigating the impact of water quality on reef health. 


Topic 2: Changes in the reef

Section 16. Anthropogenic change 

S16 Anthropogenic change 

T099 Potential reef futures

T100 Global anthropogenic factors

T101 Specific reef pressures

T102 Holocene coral cores 

T103 Shelford’s law and coral bleaching

T104 GBR thermal data

T105 Ecological effects of bleaching

T106 Bleaching recovery conditions

T107 Compare regional bleaching

T108 Interpret coral core data

Subject matter statements

T 099 Analyse results from models to determine potential reef futures under various scenarios

T 100 Recall the global anthropogenic factors affecting the distribution of coral (i.e. coral mining, pollution: organic and non-organic, fishing practices, dredging, climate change, ocean acidification and shipping)

T 101 Describe the specific pressures affecting coral reefs (i.e. surface run-off, salinity fluctuations, climate change, cyclic crown-of-thorns outbreaks, overfishing, spills and improper ballast)

T 102 Recognise that during the Holocene no evidence of coral bleaching or ocean acidification can be found within coral cores dating back 6000 years

T 103 Explain the concept of coral bleaching in terms of Shelford’s law of tolerance

T 104 Interpret thermal threshold data for reefs in the northern, central and southern sections of the Great Barrier Reef in relation to the likelihood of a bleaching event

T 105 Use a specific case study to evaluate the ecological effects on other organisms (e.g. fish) after a bleaching event has occurred

T 106 Describe the conditions necessary for recovery from bleaching events

T 107 Compare the responses to bleaching events between two regions, while recognising that coral cover increases on resilient reefs once pressures are reduced or removed

T 108 Interpret data, including qualitative graphical data of coral cores, that demonstrates that coral cores can act as a proxy for the climate record (i.e. they provide information on the changes in weather patterns and events affecting the composition of coral communities)


Section 17. Ocean equilibria

S17 Ocean equilibria 

T109 pH and carbonates

T110 Geology and carbonates

T111 C02, temperature and pH

T112 C02 and ocean chemistry 

T113 Ocean acidification

T114 Carbonate compensation depth

T115 Oceans C02 capacity

Subject matter statements

T 109 Explain the reason for differences between ocean pH and freshwater — presence of carbonate buffering system

T 110 Explain that the carbonate system is linked to geological processes and operates on geological timescales

T 111 Recognise that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide influences both global temperature and ocean pH

T 112 Describe sources of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and how this influences ocean chemistry

T 113 Describe the effect of ocean acidification on sea water in terms of increasing the concentration of hydrogen ions decreasing the concentration of carbonate ions

T 114 Explain how the carbonate compensation depth (CCD) varies due to depth, location and oceanographic processes such as upwelling and coastal influences

T 115 Understand that the ocean’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide is changing and is linked to temperature (uptake) and changes in primary productivity (storage, e.g. biological pump).


Section 18. Implications for marine systems 

S18 Implications for marine systems

T116 Carbonates and shells

T117 Carbonate system and pH

T118 Ocean acidification experiments

T119 Ocean acidification and coral reefs

T120 Acidification and resilience

T121 Investigating ocean pH   

Subject matter statements

T 116 Recognise that the type of carbonate ions and concentration of ions have an implication for the development of shell-forming and skeletal-forming organisms including hard corals (Scleractinia), coralline algae, molluscs, plankton and crustaceans

T 117 Interpret trends in data in relation to the carbonate system and changes in pH

T 118 Distinguish between laboratory-scale and field-based experiments and what they demonstrate about ocean acidification

T 119 Describe the potential consequences of ocean acidification for coral reef ecosystems

T 120 Explain how resilience may partially offset ocean acidification responses in the short term.

T 121 Investigate the effects an altered ocean pH has on marine carbonate structures  (Mandatory practical).

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