MR-240 Oceanography with Lab

Course Description:  The course will include sections on oceanographic history, geology, chemistry, physics, biology, technology, and careers. The use of terminology will be emphasized. Laboratory and field exercises will include demonstration of basic concepts; use of instrumentation; and the collection and presentation of oceanographic data.

  • This course meets PLOs 3.4 AND 3.5 of the General Education Program.
  • Prerequisite Courses: A “C” or better in ESL 089 (Reading V)

A.  PROGRAM LEARNING OUTCOMES (PLOs):
      The student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate fundamental knowledge of geological, geographical, physical, chemical, astrological and biological oceanography;
  2. Apply fundamental knowledge of marine sciences towards identifying and critically analyzing, and outlining potential solutions for local, regional and global problems relating to marine systems;
  3. Apply the scientific process to formulate hypotheses, design experiments, and collect and analyze data from which valid scientific conclusions are drawn; and
  4. Communicate effectively, in written and oral forms, utilizing the language and concepts of marine science.

B.  STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES (SLOs) – GENERAL:
The student will be able to:

  1. List some general facts that permit to consider that “Earth is an Ocean World”;
  2. Identify major historical events to show how the science of oceanography has evolved over time;
  3. Describe the theory of plate tectonic and demonstrate how it relates to the distribution and origin of sea floor morphological features and its overlying sediment depositions.(Geological and geomorphological oceanography);
  4. Relate the structure of the water molecule to the chemical and physical properties of the ocean. (Chemical oceanography);
  5. Illustrate the interaction between the oceanic and the atmospheric circulation patterns and explain how it affects the climate patterns of the Earth. (Physical oceanography);
  6. Describe the factors that generate tides and define the various tidal patterns. (Physical oceanography);
  7. State the factors that influence the primary productivity in the oceans and illustrate how it affects the biomass of living forms in the ocean realm. (Biological oceanography); and
  8. Apply the scientific method to comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate oceanographic concepts.

SLO

PLO1

PLO2

PLO3

PLO4

1

M

 

 

D

2

M

 

 

D

3

M

D

D

D

4

M

D

D

D

5

M

I

D

D

6

M

D

D

D

7

M

D

D

D

8

M

D

D

D

I = Introduced
D = Demonstrated
M = Mastered

C. STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES (SLOs) – SPECIFIC:
The student will be able to:  
General SLO 1.  List some general facts that permit to consider that “Earth is an
Ocean World”.


Student Learning Outcomes

Assessment Strategies

1.1 Define the term oceanography and report on basic ocean statistical facts, notably: the total overall ocean surface area to land area; the ocean to land distribution by hemisphere; the average depth (in m) of the ocean as opposed to the average elevation of the land; the average temperature (oC) and salinity (ppt) of the ocean; name the deepest spot, its total depth (in m), and identify where it is located.

Homework, class quiz, exam.

1.2 Compare/contrast the major ocean basins, notably the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian, the Arctic, and their interconnectedness.

Homework, class quiz, exam.

General SLO 2.  Identify major historical events to show how the science of oceanography has evolved over time.


Student Learning Outcomes

Assessment Strategies

2.1 Associate the age of discovery in oceanography with voyaging for trade and exploration by ship which culminated with Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe between 1519 and 1521.

Homework, class quiz, exam.

2.2 Associate that the expeditions during the eighteen and nineteenth centuries equally included scientific goals which led to advances in ocean studies: Cook (1768-1779; Darwin (1831-1836); Thomson and Murray in the epic expedition on the HMS Challenger (1872-1876).

Homework, class quiz, exam.

2.3  Describe that the rise of marine institutions that began in the early twentieth century and the current oceanographic research perspectives largely depends on major collaborative programs at international levels; and, rely more and more on remote-sensing technology, computer modeling, and other advanced technologies.

Homework, class quiz, exam.

General SLO 3.  Describe the theory of plate tectonic and demonstrate how it relates to the distribution and origin of sea floor morphological features and its overlying sediment depositions. (Geological and geomorphological oceanography)


Student Learning Outcomes

Assessment Strategies

3.1  Explain how Earth’s inner layers are classified; list the three major layers; and compare/contrast between the continental crust and the oceanic crust (average thickness; density; rock type)

Homework, class quiz, exam.

3.2 Enumerate the arguments that Wagener used to defend the theory of continental drift, notably: the fit between the edges of continents with offshore contours reinforcing these observations; common geological features (mountain ranges; rock structures…) and fossils on continents that are presently separated by oceans; fossilized remains of tropical plants in the Antarctic continent.

Homework, class quiz, exam, video on plate tectonics.

3.3 Associate the theories of seafloor spreading and plate tectonics by listing and describing the supportive evidences confirming these theories, notably: positive and negative magnetic anomalies profiles of the ocean basins; paleomagnetisms; seismic activities concentrated along plate boundaries; hot spots/mantle plumes; the formation of island arcs, atolls, and guyots; the age of the oceanic crust and the thickness of the overlying sediment deposits.

Homework, class quiz, exam, video on plate tectonics.

3.4 Review plate tectonics in terms of its effect on ocean margins and basins by summarizing in a table format the characteristics of plate boundaries, notably: the types of plate boundaries; the plate motions; the events observed; and examples of locations of each plate type.

Homework, class quiz, exam, video on plate tectonics.

3.5 Identify the morphological features of the ocean basins basin by first stating what differentiates the continental margin from the deep-sea basin, and then, by describing and be able to label on a map or profile, the following seafloor features: continental shelf, continental slope, shelf break, continental rise, submarine canyons, abyssal plains, guyots, sea mounts, mid-ocean ridges, transform faults, and trenches.

Homework, class quiz, exam.

3.6 Classify the sediment by particle size, source/origin, and state their respective degree of importance, their distribution over the seafloor bed, along with the influence of the CCD on sediment distribution. Red clays and oozes will be further described.

Homework, class quiz, exam.

3.7 Evaluate the present economic importance of marine minerals and fossil fuels and their potential future exploitation outcomes.

Homework, class quiz, exam.

General SLO 4.  Relate the structure of the water molecule to the chemical and physical properties of the ocean. (Chemical oceanography)


Student Learning Outcomes

Assessment Strategies

4.1  Describe the properties of the water molecule, notably: its polar nature; the hydrogen bonding; its dissolving power; its unique freezing and boiling properties with its effects on water density; its high heat capacity and effects on regulating the world climates.

Homework, class quiz, exam.

4.2  Define the principle of constant proportions (Dittmar Principle); link it to its use in measuring the total seawater salinity via the chlorinity; show how this principle is associated to the major conservative ions/constituents of the seawater; and give the reason why the minor ions/constituents, and trace element are non-conservative elements, and consequently, do not respect the principle of constant proportion.

Homework, class quiz, and exam.

4.3 Name the three major dissolved gases in seawater; and explain, by sketching a profile, how and why oxygen and carbon dioxide levels change with depth in the open ocean.

Homework, class quiz, and exam.

4.4 Influencing effect of the temperature and salinity in characterizing the density of a given seawater mass; then, name and describe the three major density stratified zones of the ocean basins.

Homework, class quiz, and exam.

An exercise will be carried out during a laboratory session to describe the effects of temperature and salinity on density.
Field work will be carried out at different stations along an estuary to measure the salinity and temperature profile with depth and their mixing patterns.

General SLO 5.  Illustrate the interaction between the oceanic and the atmospheric circulation patterns and explain how it affects the climate patterns of the Earth. (Physical oceanography)


Student Learning Outcomes

Assessment Strategies

5.1 Illustrate in a drawing the global atmospheric circulation cells or weather patterns; the location of the associated wind regimes; and the corresponding convergence and divergent zones.

Homework, class quiz, and exam.

5.2 Sketch a world ocean view of the surface currents; describe the relationship between the wind, surface currents, Coriolis effect, Ekman transport, and their links to the formation of geostrophic gyres; list the five geostrophic gyres and the additional West Wind Drift; compare/contrast within a given geostophic gyre, western and eastern boundary currents, in terms of relative width, depth, speed, and water temperature.

Homework, class quiz, and exam.

 

5.3 Define both upwellings and downwellings; explain what causes them; distinguish between the coastal and equatorial upwellings; and, relate the importance of upwellings in terms of primary productivity, marine life support, and economic interest for major world fisheries.

Homework, class quiz, and exam.

5.4 Define thermohaline circulation; discuss the origin, nature, and location of  its associated major deep water current namely, the Antarctic Bottom Water and the North Atlantic Deep Water; explain what the “global conveyer belt” is; its significance for both life in the ocean and Earth’s climate; describe the causes of an eventual shut down of the global conveyer belt system, and its consequences. 

Homework, class quiz, and exam.

 

General SLO 6.  Describe the factors that generate tides and define the various tidal patterns. (Physical oceanography)


Student Learning Outcomes

Assessment Strategies

6.1 Define the term “tides”; explain the effects of the moon and the sun on the tides; differentiate between the Spring and Neap tides; compare/contrast diurnal, semidiurnal, and mixed tides; define a tidal range and state where and the approximate height of the highest tidal ranges in the world; differentiate between the flood, ebb currents, and slack water; and define tidal bores and tsunami (tidal wave).

 

Homework, class quiz, and exam.

Integrate in the field trip study of the mixing water mass patterns in an estuary, the impact of the tidal cycle.

Laboratory exercise applying the rule of the 12 to define the water height and its corresponding time during a tide cycle.

General SLO 7.  State the factors that influence the primary productivity in the oceans and illustrate how it affects the biomass of living forms in the ocean realm. (Biological oceanography)


Student Learning Outcomes

Assessment Strategies

7.1 Classify the marine environment according to light penetration (photic versus aphotic); according to location (neritic versus oceanic; pelagic versus benthic); according to behavior (planktonic versus nektonic).

Homework, class quiz, and exam.

During a field trip exercise to study the dynamics of an estuary, secchi disk measurements are made to account for the water turbidity level and the corresponding light penetration.

7.2  Describe the flow of energy and materials in an ocean ecosystem by sketching a pyramid of energy; by giving examples of such pyramids; and by describing where the richest fishing grounds are found and why this is so.

Homework, class quiz, and exam.

7.3  Give examples of impact of pollution have for the fisheries and on marine environments; show how it affects humankind on short and long term basis; and list ways to conserve and protect the marine environment

Homework, class quiz, and exam.

 

General SLO 8.  Apply the scientific method to comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate oceanographic concepts.


Student Learning Outcomes

Assessment Strategies

8.1 Illustrate through various examples covered during the lectures on how scientists approach and solve problems in oceanography; to apply the scientific method to identify, engage, and solve problems that arise in oceanography; to critically evaluate both sources and content of information pertaining to oceanography; and recognize the limits of the scientific approach in solving problems.

 

Throughout the lectures, the students will be reminded of the scientific approach used by oceanographers.

The study of the salinity and temperature profiles of the Dausokele bay estuary permits the students to have a hand on experience of the scientific approach. Among the objectives sought: the student learns how to handle and use various sampling gears related to coastal oceanography; the student learn to gather data in the field, to compile, to analyze, to interpret, and to discuss the results in light of a literature review; and finally, the student learns how to write a practical research report respecting the rigors of the scientific methodology.

 

D.  COURSE CONTENT

  1. One World Ocean
  2. A Brief History of Oceanography

    2.1 Voyaging Begins
    2.2 Scientific Expeditions on the XVIII and XIX century
    2.3. The Rise of Oceanographic Institution, Current and Future Oceanographic Research

  3. Earth Structure and Plate Tectonics

    3.1 A Layered Earth
    3.2 Continental Drift and Seafloor Spreading Theories
    3.3 Plate Tectonics Theory

  4. Continental Margins and Deep-Ocean Basins

    4.1 The Topography of Ocean Floor
    4.2 Continental Margins
    4.3 Deep-Ocean Basins

  5. Sediments

    5.1 Classifying Sediments by Particle Size
    5.2 Classifying Sediments by Source (Origin)
    5.3 The Distribution of Marine Sediments: A World Ocean View
    5.4 The Economic Importance of Marine Sediments

  6. Seawater Chemistry

    6.1 The Water Molecule
    6.2The Dissolving Power of Water
    6.3 Seawater and the Principle of Constant Proportions
    6.4 Dissolved Gases
    6.5 Temperature, salinity and Water Density
    6.6 The Three Layered Density Stratified Ocean Basins

  7. Atmospheric Circulation and Weather

    7.1 Composition and Properties of the Atmosphere
    7.2 Atmospheric Circulation Cells and Associated Wind Patterns

  8. Ocean Circulation

    8.1 The Forces That Drive Currents
    8.2 Surface Currents
    8.3 Upwellings and Downwellings
    8.4 Thermohaline Circulation

  9. Life in the Ocean

    9.1 Classification of the Marine Environment
    9.2 The Flow of Energy and Materials
    9.3 Marine Productivity
    9.4 Fisheries Resources

  10. Non-Living Resources from the Sea Floor

    10.1 Mineral Resources
    10.2 Fossil Fuels

  11. Human Impact on the Ocean

E.  METHODS OF INSTRUCTION
Instruction will involve lectures supported by detailed powerpoint presentations. Hand-outs summarizing the lecture notes will be available at the start of each chapter to guide and complement note taking in class. The hand-outs will equally be useful for the home assignments and in preparing the class quizzes and exams. The laboratory sessions will complement the course and furnish hands-on activities, designed to enhance to the student-centered learning process.

F.  REQURIED TEXT(S) AND COURSE MATERIALS
Garrison, T. 2010. Oceanography: An Invitation to Marine Science. 7th ed. Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning. Belmont, CA. (USA) (or most recent edition).

G.  REFERENCE MATERIALS
Pinet P.R. 2003. Invitation to Oceanography. 3rd ed. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Sudbury MA. (USA) (or most recent edition).
Trujillo A.P. and H.V. Thurman. 2008. Essentials of Oceanography. 9th ed. Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. (or most recent edition).
[Any relevant and current materials pertaining to oceanography may be introduced by the instructor, especially when regionally applicable.]

H.  INSTRUCTIONAL COSTS
Laboratory equipment/supplies must be purchased and field trips necessitate bus, boat, fuel, and driver costs. Costs vary over time for salary and fuel. A rough estimate for costs is $500 per semester.
I.   EVALUATION
None

J.   CREDIT BY EXAMINATION
None

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