Introduction to Oceanography
Patrick Pringle, Assoc. Professor of Earth Science
This class will explore the physical, geological, chemical, and biological characteristics of the ocean: waves and tides, ocean and atmosphere circulation, coastal features and beach processes, ocean basins, sediments, ocean chemistry and physics, plate tectonics, and marine life.
Upon successful completion students should be able to:
1. Describe the development of ocean knowledge from early voyages of exploration and discovery to modern times. (1,2)
2. Use latitude and longitude to locate places on maps, and interpret tide tables. (1)
3. Describe theories on the origin of the earth, its atmosphere and its oceans. (1,2)
4. Identify the major features of ocean basins and relate the features to theories of origin. (1,2)
5. Describe the basic ideas of plate tectonics. (1,2)
6. Identify the chemical and physical characteristics of seawater. (1,2)
7. Explain how the atmosphere and oceans circulate. (1,2)
8. Compare the motions of currents, waves and tides and identify the factors that affect each. (1,2)
9. Describe the general characteristics of coastlines and the processes that operate there. (1,2)
10. Identify some of the environment issues related to oceanography. (1,2,5)
11. Describe the general characteristics of life in the ocean and identify the factors that influence organisms and productivity. (1,2)
1. Reasoning. The ability to extract information from data, develop ideas and solutions, establish logical progression in thinking, and problem solve using such procedures as literary analysis or the scientific method.
2. Written, Oral, and Visual Communication. The ability to make oneself understood in public, interpersonal, professional, artistic, and technical arenas.
3. Exploration—Self and Others. An awareness of the values, beliefs, customs, and contributions of persons from one's own and other traditions, ethnicities, classes, and genders.
4. Resourcefulness. The ability to adapt to change, such as technological innovations or environmental conditions.
5. Responsibility. The ability to be accountable to self, society, and the natural world.
Major areas listed below will be investigated in sufficient depth to allow the student to meet the objectives listed in part 2 above.
History of Oceanography
Charts and navigations
Introduction of Planet Earth
Origin of the planet, its oceans, atmosphere and life
Age and shape of the earth, distribution of land and water
Latitude, longitude and the international date line
Natural cycles, seasons, water cycle
Evidence for plate tectonics and plate tectonics theory
The Sea Floor
Topography and sediments
Water: Chemical and Physical Properties
The water molecule and changes of state (solid, liquid, gas)
Density, salinity, and temperature; gases in seawater, pH
Transmission of heat, light and sound
The Air and the Oceans
Distribution of solar radiation and heat transfer composition and movement of air
Circulative Patterns and Ocean Currents
Wind-driven circulation, density-driven circulation
Layered ocean structure
Waves and Tides
Wave anatomy and interference
Shallow- and deep-water waves
Standing waves, tsunami, tides and tidal bores
Coasts, Estuaries and Environmental Issues
Types of coastlines, beach characteristics and processes
Wetlands and estuaries
Sea Life and Ocean Productivity
Nutrients, light and primary production
Food chains, food webs, trophic levels
Adaptations of marine organisms
Plankton, nekton and benthon
Required texts, evaluation criteria, attendance policy, and other requirements
appear on the course syllabus distributed by the instructor.