Advanced Marine Ecology – Competition & Biofouling

Competition for resources and biofouling are themes in every environment, both marine and terrestrial. In this course, students are introduced to one of the leading drivers of evolution, succession, and threats in marine habitats, with a focus on tropical marine habitats. Concepts and ideas introduced in the original marine ecology course are developed and expanded on, specifically exploring the ideas of substrate competition within coral reefs and the ways in which the balance of colonization may shift one way or another. Students are taught how to identify potential biofouling incidents within reefs and the leading competitors to corals themselves, as well as different monitoring techniques


  • Be 12 years of age or older
  • Be certified as an Advanced diver under a leading diving organization (PADI, SSI, RAID, etc) or an Open Water diver who has satisfactorily completed a buoyancy appraisal with a professional diver
  • Demonstrate proper diving ability at an advanced Level and be proficient in buoyancy and self-awareness
  • Be certified in both our Ecological Monitoring program or Coral Reef Ecology & Monitoring course


  • Identify 3 cases of Epibiosis or competition in-situ, and suggest the factors contributing to it.
  • Be able to explain the inter-relation between competition and the other 2 central themes of ecology explored (symbioses and predation).
  • Be able to carry out accurate and relevant data collection on at least one type of competitor to the core organism(s) of your choice.
  • Complete knowledge development and 1 Competition and Biofouling monitoring dive


  • Practice identification of substrate colonizers in a marine environment of your choice. These should include but not be limited to algae, sponges, and other sessile organisms.
  • Take data on competition in a marine environment of your choice using one or more of the following techniques: Quadrats, line transects, substrate recruitment tiles, coral/benthos overgrowth measurements, roving diver surveys.

Expected course time is 6 Hours

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