Module OSX-1005:
Fundamentals of Oceanography

Module Facts

Run by School of Ocean Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr David Assinder

Overall aims and purpose

This module provides an introduction to the physics and chemistry of the oceans. Students are introduced to the fundamental principles of how the ocean works as a physical system, and are shown how ocean physics is intimately connected with climate. It also considers the influence of biological activity and ocean circulation on the chemistry of the oceans . Theoretical aspects are reinforced with practical work designed to introduce basic analytical techniques and their application to problems of environmental relevance.

Course content

  • Provide a conceptual model of the physical systems of the oceans.
  • Introduce the basic dynamical balances that govern ocean circulation.
  • Demonstrate the links between ocean circulation and climate.
  • Examine the influence of biological activity and ocean circulation on ocean chemistry.
  • Understand how material formed and added to surface waters is recycled or added to underlying sediments.
  • Gain experience and skills in laboratory techniques relevant to an understanding of ocean chemistry.
  • Gain experience and skills in laboratory techniques relevant to the flow of water, waves and density currents and basic dynamics.

Assessment Criteria

good

Attend practical sessions and perform practical work and analysis of data in a competent manner. Demonstrate a good knowledge, gained from taught material, practicals and directed reading, under examination conditions and an ability to use this knowledge to answer unseen questions. Able to appreciate and describe the processes that influence the concentration and distribution of elements in ocean waters and underlying sediments. Able to appreciate the concept of calibration in analytical chemistry and interpretation of data generated during laboratory experiments.

threshold

Attend practical sessions . Basic understanding, gained from taught material, practicals and directed reading, under examination conditions. Basic ability to appreciate and describe the processes that influence the concentration and distribution of elements in ocean waters and underlying sediments. Basic appreciation of the concept of calibration in analytical chemistry and interpretation of data generated during laboratory experiments.

excellent

Attend practical sessions and carry out experimental work carefully and in an enquiring manner. Demonstrate a thorough knowledge, gained from taught material, practicals and directed reading, of taught material under exam conditions and be able to extrapolate or use additional information obtained by independent reading. Considerable appreciation and clear ability to describe the processes that influence the concentration and distribution of elements in ocean waters and underlying sediments. Considerable appreciation the concept of calibration in analytical chemistry and interpretation of data generated during laboratory experiments.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate a knowledge of the water masses and circulation of the Oceans

  2. Appreciate the role of dynamical concepts, including inertia and earth rotation effects on Ocean currents

  3. Be able to describe the way in which measurements are made within the ocean

  4. Appreciate the role of the ocean in climate change

  5. Appreciate and describe the processes that influence the concentration and distribution of elements in ocean waters and underlying sediments.

  6. Master some simple laboratory techniques associated with the chemical analysis of seawater

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Sea level write-up 5
Sea level online test 5
Continuity & shelf sea flushing 5
Online test 1: nitrite analysis 5
Online test 2: nutrient & dissolved oxygen profiles 5
Online test 3: biogeochemical cycles 5
Physical oceanography 5
Ocean circulation & climate 5
Exam Sem 2 60

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study 168
Lecture

Lectures 1 per week, each an hour.

17
Practical classes and workshops

Practicals 5, each 3 hours, two practicals at roughly three week intervals

15

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Resources

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: