Jochen Nuester, Lecturer/Researcher in Marine Biogeochemistry
Geological and Environmental Sciences
Physical Science 233
California State University, Chico
Chico, CA 95929-205
Introduction into Oceanography
Proposed for General Education, Area B1 Physical Sciences with Laboratory
Instructors: Dr. Jochen Nuester, Dept. of Geological and Environmental Sciences
Office: HOLT 310
Office hours: to be announced
Class Times: Two 50 minute discussions per week plus 110 minute activity (3 units)
This course provides an introduction into the ocean environment with a special emphasis on exploring the interaction between the geological, physical, chemical and biological processes. The oceanic environment is of great importance to human beings (e.g., food, health, transportation, and recreation), yet paradoxically its condition is also dependent upon human activities. The emphasis of this course is to develop ocean literacy based on the seven essential principles of ocean science:
• The Earth has one big ocean with many features.
• The ocean, and life in the ocean, shape the features of Earth.
• The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate.
• The ocean made the Earth habitable.
• The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.
• The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected.
• The ocean is largely unexplored.
In this course we will learn how the ocean basins developed and changed over geological time scales. We will learn how the physico-chemical properties of seawater (i.e., temperature, density, salinity, sound, light) are linked and provide the foundation for marine life, motion (i.e. currents, tides, waves), and climate.
After active participation in lecture and activity sections of this course, every student should have:
• A greater appreciation for the importance of the ocean for our well-being;
• Familiarity with the basic physical, geological, biological, and chemical processes that shape the oceanic environment;
• A recognition about the dynamics in the ocean and how these dynamics affect life an appreciation for the complexity of life in the ocean;
• Acquired the tools to analyze different sources of information about the health of the ocean.
Course specific Student Learning Outcomes
Throughout this course, the student will:
• Describe the concept of Geologic Time and how oceans have changed during Earth’s history;
• Interpret bathymetry maps;
• Identify and locate different types of plate boundaries;
• Predict Ekman transport in unfamiliar geographic locations;
• Identify the direction of geostrophic currents;
• Analyze the chemical composition of the ocean and its effect on motion and marine life;
• Test how changes of salinity and/or temperature lead to changes in ocean layers;
• Recognize the interconnection of the atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere in the marine environment;
• Predict phytoplankton blooms;
• Recognize the complexity of oceanic processes and evaluate the uncertainty related to climate change predictions;
• Learn to read and analyze primary literature;
• Analyze the biological and chemical composition of the ocean using spreadsheets;
• Plot and interpret scientific graphs.
GE Specific Learning Outcomes
The Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for our General Education program flow from the recognition that certain essential intellectual and practical skills rest at the foundation of a high-quality General Education program. Introduction to Oceanography will develop and enhance many skills and will specifically address the following four SLOs:
• Critical Thinking: Identifies issues and problems raised in written texts, visual media and other forms of discourse, and assesses the relevance, adequacy and credibility of arguments and evidence used in reaching conclusions.
• Mathematical Reasoning: Demonstrates knowledge of and applies mathematical or statistical methods to describe, analyze and solve problems in context.
• Active Inquiry: Demonstrates knowledge of and applies research techniques and information technology appropriate to the intellectual and disciplinary context.
• Sustainability: Describes and explains the environmental dynamics associated with human activities, and assesses the value of balancing social and economic demands with the Earth's ability to sustain physical and biological resources and cultural diversity.
These SLOs will be introduced and discussed primarily through the lecture material and will be enhanced and practiced through hands-on small group, active-learning experiences in the activity sections.
Oceanography: An Invitation to Marine Science, 9th Edition
Tom S. Garrison Orange Coast College
ISBN-10: 1305105168 | ISBN-13: 9781305105164
Attendance of lectures is strongly encouraged since complementary material, in addition to required readings, will be presented in lectures and included in examinations. Attendance during activity sections is mandatory.
There will be four exams during the course. All exams cover topics introduced during lecture and activity sections. The best 3 exams will be counted for your final grade. All exams together will count for 60% of your grade. In addition to exams, weekly quizzes will be available on blackboard learn. All quizzes count for 10% of your grade. All activity sections require a submission of the laboratory exercise. The laboratory exercise reports account for 30% of your grade. A (90-100%); B (80-89%); C (70-79%); D (60-69%); and F (below 60%).
You are encouraged to work together on labs. HOWEVER, it is important that you be able to answer the problems by yourself, with no notes or books on the quizzes and exams. It is recommended that you work in proximity to others and periodically check your answers with each other and discuss questions, but do the work primarily on your own.
If you have questions, come to office hours, see the tutor, attend study sessions, make an appointment, or e-mail your instructor. It’s your responsibility to seek needed help. I am here when you’re ready.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)Policy Statement
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal antidiscrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Accessibility Recourse center at CSU Chico. If you need special accommodation for exams, please let me know in advance so that I can help to find a beneficial solution for you.
Tentative Lecture Schedule
Week 1: History of Oceanography Introduction and history of oceanography, origin of the earth,
Week 2: Geological time,
Week 3: Plate tectonics,
Week 4: The sea floor and bathymetry
Week 5: Marine sediments
Week 6: Physical properties of water
Week 7: Ocean chemistry
Week 8: Atmospheric and oceanic structure/circulation chemistry, radiation balance of the earth, atmospheric circulation, Coriolis effect
Week 9: Surficial ocean currents, deep ocean currents
Week 10: Biological productivity and energy transfer
Week 11: Marine animals and communities
Week 12: Waves and water dynamics
Week 13: Tides
Week 14: The coast: beaches and shoreline processes
Week 15: Ocean and climate change
Tentative Lab Schedule
Week 1: Math review and longitude latitude exercise
Week 2: Geologic time exercise, explain radioactive dating and half-life using M&M’s
Week 3: Seafloor spreading
Week 4: Ocean bathymetry and ocean crustal rocks
Week 5: Learning about sediments using real time data; mineralogy of ocean sediments
Week 6: Sound and light in the ocean
Week 7: Layered ocean: effects of salinity and temperature
Week 8: Chemistry of the ocean using data collected during the Joint Ocean Flux Study
Week 9: Ocean circulation
Week 10: Thermohaline circulation
Week 11: Ocean gyre circulation and patterns of global primary productivity
Week 12: Predicting Phytoplankton blooms; Field Trip to Lake Oroville to collect plankton
Week 13: Waves and tides
Week 14: Graphing tides
Week 15: pH and ocean acidification lab