Welcome to Tropical Marine Ecosystems! Understanding the marine environment requires a basic knowledge of biological, physical, geological and chemical processes and how they interact. Increasingly, it also encompasses an understanding of the way marine resources can be sustainable managed. Consequently, the investigation and understanding of the ocean requires an interdisciplinary perspective of the ocean as an integrated system.
The Institute of Marine Resources and the Division of Marine Studies of the University of the South Pacific, in collaboration with Macquarie University (Australia) and the University of Wisconsin- Platteville (US), offers two 3-week courses on Tropical Marine Ecosystems in the beautiful marine environment of Fiji. For Macquarie University and other Australian students, this course is offered at the beginning of each year (January – February) and IMR has been co-ordinating it since 2003. For the University of Wisconsin Study Abroad Program and other US students, this course is offered around June-July. The course can also be taken by USP students as a non-credit course.
Tropical Marine Ecosystems Summer Course, 2010.
In 2010, the course was held from Monday, January 25th - Thursday, February 11th and IMR played host to 15 students, accompanied by their Senior lecturers, from Macquarie University. Staff from the Division of Marine Studies at the School of Island and Oceans contributed lectures to the course.
Areas covered included: tropical marine assemblages; tropical marine invertebrates, vertebrates and plants; geology, geomorphology, bio-geography and marine ethno biodiversity of Pacific Islands; basic seawater chemistry, nutrient cycle, oceanography; climate change; pollution; invasive species; aquaculture, community based management and brief on traditional Fijian fishing gear and methods.
Field trips enabled students to snorkel and observe the diversity of corals and reef organisms on three different reefs; study features of a coral cay (Makaluva Island); stay overnight in a traditional Fijian village on the Coral Coast; see Fiji’s largest freshwater prawn farm at Navua; and get hands-on experience in seagrass, mangrove, and terrestrial coastal plants species identification.
The students enjoyed the Course since it gave them a chance to get to know the Fijian culture, their food and lifestyle and also experience the practical part of the course, which ran alongside the lecture components. They made the most of their stay and visited nearby tourist spots in the weekends.