University of Technology Sydney

91157 Marine Algae and Productivity

6cp; Online lectures and reading (approx 12hrs); On campus practicals and workshops (15hrs), plus 3-day field trip.
Requisite(s): 91154 Ecology
These requisites may not apply to students in certain courses. See access conditions.


In this subject students dive into the watery world of marine algae, from the microscopic phytoplankton in our oceans to the towering kelp inhabiting our temperate rocky shorelines. Marine algae hold unprecedented importance in our oceans, they are responsible for 50% of the oxygen in our atmosphere, are key players in ocean biogeochemical cycles and as the base of the marine foodweb, sustain all marine life. In this subject, students learn about the biology, physiology and ecology of marine algae. With a focus on problem-based learning and practical experience, students learn to design and execute multifactorial experiments both for the field and laboratory, examining how algae adapt and respond to changing environmental conditions. Students are introduced to assessing the photosynthetic health and physiology of marine algae. Combining theory and practice, this subject integrates lectures, collaborative learning, group discussion, experimental approaches and data analysis techniques, as well as practical research in both laboratory and field settings*, through which students gain insight into how marine algae live, thrive and struggle within marine habitats. At completion of this subject, students are able to explain the role of marine algae in shaping the environment and evaluate how they, in turn, are shaped by the environment. Students gain a secure understanding of the biology, physiology and ecology of marine algae and their unparalleled importance in marine ecosystems.

*Field work will be undertaken during a three-day excursion. Due to this excursion, numbers are limited, and preference is given to second-year marine biology students.

Typical availability

Spring session, City campus


91157 runs every year (2nd year).

Detailed subject description.

Access conditions

Note: The requisite information presented in this subject description covers only academic requisites. Full details of all enforced rules, covering both academic and admission requisites, are available at access conditions and My Student Admin.