Spring 2007

SCIE 644
Oceanography: The Ocean System

O'Connell,Suzanne B.

01/22/2007 - 05/05/2007
Thursday 06:30 PM - 09:00 PM

Science Tower 72

We will explore the world ocean system by studying its geology, ecosystem, and circulation patterns; by investigating how plate tectonics shape the ocean basin and where the saline water that fills those basins originated. Students will discover the "ultimate" recycling as oceanic plates return to the mantle and generate volcanoes. The class will then proceed to examine the ocean's influence on climate and weather, and the unique properties of water. This will include an understanding of thermohaline circulation, the "ocean conveyor belt" and the world-wide impact of ocean-atmosphere processes such as El Nino. We will conclude by studying how the ocean's physical characteristics influenced the origin and diversification of marine ecosystems with an in-depth examination of some of these ecosystems, such as salt marshes, coral reefs, mangrove forests (mangle), and hydrothermal vent communities. Throughout, various threats to the ocean and ocean ecosystems will be identified and discussed.

Classes will include lectures and discussions, and one or two optional field trips. Many classes will incorporate hands-on activities such as identifying marine organisms and on-line database projects. These projects will allow students to learn how to access data to keep up with new information, create their own maps of ocean properties and interpret these maps.

Our primary text is Tom Garrison, Essentials of Oceanography.

Students are responsible for short weekly pre-class assignments (25%), in class exercises (25%), class participation (25%), a research paper (5-8 pages, plus figures, tables and bibliography--25%, includes peer reviewed draft).

A syllabus for this course is available at:
http://www.wesleyan.edu/masters/courses/Spring_2007/Spring_2007_Syllabi/syb_scie644.html


Suzanne O'Connell (B.A. Oberlin College; M.S. SUNY Albany; Ph.D. Columbia University) is associate professor of earth and environmental sciences. Her research focuses on marine geology and continental margin sedimentology, with emphasis on areas in coastal Connecticut, the Caribbean, and Antarctica. The Association for Women Geoscientists named her the 2001 Outstanding Educator. She is the primary or contributing author of over 152 publications, with five in press, most recently: "Connecting urban students with their rivers generates interest and skills in the geosciences," published in the Journal of Geoscience Education. Click here for more information about Suzanne O'Connell.


ENROLLMENT INFORMATION

Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Tom Garrison, ESSENTIALS OF OCEANOGRAPHY (ITP), Paperback

READING MATERIALS AVAILABLE AT BROAD STREET BOOKS, 45 BROAD STREET, MIDDLETOWN, 860-685-7323

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