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Cover Photo 2007-2008 Catalog Online

Course Descriptions:


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Oceanography (OCG)

Dean: Professor Farmer

110 (or GEO 110) The Ocean Planet (3)

Introduces the origin and structure of the solar system; interaction of earth’s solid interior, oceans’ atmosphere and biosphere with emphasis on earth science; energy resources and present environment on earth. (Lec. 3) (N)

123 Oceans, Atmospheres, and Global Change (4)

The impact of human activities on the oceans, atmospheric composition, and climate set against a background of natural processes in and history of global changes in climate and ecosystems. (Lec. 3, Lab. 3) (N)

131 Volcanoes and the Environment (3)

General introduction to volcanic eruptions and their impact on the global environment and on human activity. Basic principles of the generation of magmas and their eruption at the earth’s surface. (Lec. 3) (N)

401 General Oceanography (3)

General survey in the major disciplines including geological, physical, chemical, and biological ocean sciences integrated into a conceptual approach to the coastal ocean. (Lec. 3) Pre: at least one laboratory course in a physical or biological science and junior standing or above. Not for graduate credit.

420 Deep-Sea Biology (3)

Overview of the biology and ecology of the deep sea, including organisms and habitats, spatial and temporal patterns, physiology and adaptations, energetics, evolution, and hydrothermal vent ecology. (Lec. 3) Pre: one semester general biology (BIO 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 130, 141) and one semester general chemistry (CHM 101, 103) required. One semester ecology or oceanography recommended (OCG 123, 401, 451, BIO 455).

451 Oceanographic Science (3)

Oceanography for undergraduate science majors. The approach used is to present and apply basic physical, chemical, geological, and biological principles to the integrated study of the world ocean system. (Lec. 3) Pre: two semesters of MTH 131 and 132 or 141 and 142, one semester of CHM 101 and 102 or 191, one semester of PHY 111 and 185 or 203 and 273 or 213 and 285. A second semester of CHM 112 and 114 or 192 is recommended. Not for graduate credit in oceanography.

480 Introduction to Marine Pollution (3)

An introductory course in marine pollution emphasizing geochemical aspects of the sources, transport, and fate of pollutants in the coastal marine environment. (Lec. 3) Pre: one semester of general chemistry (CHM 101 or 103). One semester of general geosciences (GEO 100 or 103) is recommended. Not for graduate credit.

483, 484 Laboratory and Research Problems in Physics

See Physics 483, 484.

491 Ocean Studies (15)

Full-time intensive work experience with Graduate School of Oceanography research at Narragansett Bay Campus. Student expected to participate in research program, seminars, and other activities of Bay Campus. (Independent Study) Pre: junior standing in natural sciences, natural resources, or engineering, and permission of supervising faculty member. Not for graduate credit in oceanography. S/U only.

493, 494 Special Problems and Independent Study in Oceanography (1-6 each)

Research in oceanography conducted as supervised individual study. (Independent Study) Pre: junior or senior standing in natural science, natural resources, or engineering, and permission of instructor. S/U only.

501 Physical Oceanography (3)

Basic course covering physical properties of seawater, heat budget, distribution of variables, dynamics, water masses and general circulation, waves and tides. (Lec. 3) Pre: PHY 213 and MTH 141.

505 Marine Analytical Chemistry (3)

Application of analytical methods to marine problems with emphasis on understanding basic methods and instruments. Combines general principles with practical experience. Students conduct analytical projects in the laboratory. (Lec. 1, Lab. 2).

506 (or OCE 506) Numerical Models and Data Analysis in Ocean Sciences (3)

An introduction to numerical methods in all disciplines of oceanography and ocean engineering. Topics include model formulation, analysis, and simulation; data analysis and parameter estimation. Problem solving with Matlab and C in the weekly computer laboratory. (Lec. 2, Lab. 3)

507 Oceanography for Educators (3)

Survey of ocean science concepts. Investigation of marine issues that affect the environment. Ten hours in the field. Integration of national science education standards and inquiry-based pedagogy. (Lec. 3) Pre: CHM 100 and BIO 113 (or equivalent). A semester of general geology (GEO 100 or 103) and at least one college level math course are recommended.

508 Global Environmental Change Education (3)

Survey of global environmental change issues focusing on environmental systems, related ocean science topics, and local marine and coastal environments. Integration of national science education standards and inquiry-based pedagogy. (Lec. 3) Pre: CHM 100 and BIO 113 (or equivalent). A semester of general geology (GEO 100 or 103) is recommended.

510 Descriptive Physical Oceanography (3)

Observed distributions of temperature, salinity, currents; methods of deducing deep flow; physical properties of seawater; flow in estuaries; practical work in the analysis of oceanographic data; study of recent literature. (Lec. 3) Pre: 501.

517 Foundations of Earth System Dynamics (3)

Introduction to the fundamental principals underlying fluid dynamics as applied to the study of specific problems and processes in earth, marine, and environmental sciences. Basics of numerical modeling are covered. (Lec. 3) Pre: MTH 141 and 142, or equivalent.

521 Chemical Oceanography (3)

Processes regulating the composition of seawater and the distribution of chemical species. The interaction of marine chemistry with the ocean floor, atmosphere, and marine organisms. (Lec. 2, Lab. 2) Pre: CHM 101 and 112 and PHY 213.

523 Organic Geochemistry of Natural Waters (3)

Chemistry of organic matter in natural waters with emphasis on the marine environment. Topics include a consideration of the origin, nature, and biogeochemical reactions of organic matter in aquatic environments. (Lec. 3) Pre: CHM 228 or permission of instructor.

524 Atmospheric Pollution and the Upper Ocean (3)

Gas and aerosol chemistry and physics; land-air-sea transfer of N, S, C, halogen, and metal compounds; effects of air pollution on the marine atmosphere and upper ocean. (Lec. 3) Pre: BCH 435 or CHE 313 or CHM 431or MCE 341 or PHY 420 or permission of instructor.

531 Synoptic and Dynamic Meteorology (3)

Observed structure of atmosphere; principles of balanced flows, waves, and disturbances. Observations and models of storm formation, semipermanent features, and general circulation. Relationship between weather and climate. (Lec. 3) Pre: PHY 203 or permission of instructor.

533 Graduate Writing in Marine and Environmental Sciences (3)

Graduate writing in marine and environmental sciences; writing and editing journal articles and abstracts; principles and practice in scientific writing. Pre: graduate standing and WRT 104, 105, or 106, or permission of instructor.

535 Climate, Radiation, Gases, and Aerosols (3)

Role of short- and long-wave radiation in climate. Occurrence and consequences of natural and enhanced concentrations of radiatively-active gases. Role of aerosols and associated forcings and feedbacks. (Lec. 3) Pre: PHY 205 or 214, CHM 192 or permission of instructor.

540 Geological Oceanography (3)

Origin and evolution of the ocean basin and its margin: morphology, structure, plate tectonics, volcanism, geochemistry, stratigraphy, sedimentation, and paleoceanography. (Lec. 2, Lab. 2) Pre: GEO 103 or permission of instructor.

545 Volcaniclastic Sedimentation (3)

Generation of volcanic particles by explosive volcanism, the processes by which they are dispersed on land and in the sea, and physical characteristics of their deposits in different volcanic environments. (Lec. 3) Pre: 540 or permission of instructor.

552 Marine Geophysics (3)

Survey of basic subdisciplines of marine geophysics including plate tectonics, gravity, magnetics, heat flow, reflection and refraction seismology. Basic theory and methods of data collection and interpretation emphasized. (Lec. 3) Pre: 540 or permission of instructor.

561 Biological Oceanography (4)

Dynamics of marine ecosystems; patterns of production and distribution of plankton, benthos, and nekton in relationship to their environment. (Lec. 3, Lab. 2) Pre: general ecology.

574 Biology of Marine Mammals (3)

Migration, reproduction, social organization, classification, anatomy, populations, physiology, and communications of cetaceans and pinnipeds. (Lec. 2, Lab. 2) Pre: permission of instructor.

576 (or MIC 576) Marine Microbial Ecology (4)

Examines role of microbes in the oceans and their impact on oceanographic processes and biogeochemical cycles. Emphasis is on bacteria and their interactions with other marine organisms and the marine environment. Laboratory exercises make use of modern techniques to study metabolic rates and community structure. (Lec. 3, Lab. 3) Pre: permission of instructor.

580 Introduction to Marine Pollution (3)

An introductory course in marine pollution emphasizing geochemical aspects of the sources, transport and fate of pollutants in the coastal marine environment. Review papers or research proposals will be required. (Lec. 3) Pre: one semester of general chemistry (CHM 101 or 103). One semester of general geosciences (GEO 100 or 103) is recommended.

591, 592 Individual Study (1-6)

Individual study of assigned topics or special problems involving literature search and/or original investigation under one or more members of the faculty. (Independent Study)

593, 594 Special Studies (1-4 each)

Studies of specialized topics in the marine sciences. (Independent Study)

599 Master’s Thesis Research

Number of credits is determined each semester in consultation with the major professor. (Independent Study) S/U credit.

605 Dynamical Oceanography (3)

Simple steady-state theories applied to ocean motion. Review of well-known force balances in oceanography, wind-driven circulation, thermohaline circulation, the thermocline, oceanic boundary layers, nearshore circulation, diffusion. (Lec. 3) Pre: 501.

610 Geophysical Fluid Dynamics I (3)

Natural world fluid dynamics emphasizing ocean circulation. Classical fluid dynamics; GFD fundamentals (rotation and stratification); Taylor-Proudman theorem; potential vorticity; planetary waves; geostrophic contours; shallow water quasi-geostrophic theory; frictional layers. (Lec. 3) Pre: 605 or permission of instructor.

611 Geophysical Fluid Dynamics II (3)

Continuously stratified quasi-geostrophic theory; classical and modern theories of the wind-driven ocean circulation; stability theory; oceanic convection; wave-mean flow interactions; ageostrophic dynamics; topographical effects. (Lec. 3) Pre: 610 or permission of instructor.

613 Waves (3)

Generation, propagation, and decay of surface waves, internal waves, and Rossby waves in the ocean. (Lec. 3) Pre: MCE 550 or permission of instructor.

614 Tides (2)

Generation, propagation, and dissipation of ocean tides. Earth tides. Relation between theory and observation. Tidal analysis. (Lec. 2) Pre: 501.

620 Chemical Distributions (3)

Interdisciplinary study of the processes responsible for oceanic chemical distributions with emphasis on conservative properties, biologically active constituents, and radionuclides. Includes projects involving data-processing analysis. (Lec. 3) Pre: 501, 521, 540, and 561 or permission of instructor.

623 Physical Chemistry of Seawater (3)

Characterization of dissociation, solubility, and redox equilibria in seawater. Partial molar volumes, conductivity, and diffusion of ions in seawater. Kinetic studies in seawater; effects of temperature, salinity, and pressure on physiochemical properties in seawater. (Lec. 3) Pre: 521 and CHM 432 or permission of instructor.

625 Organic Geochemistry of Sediments (3)

Chemistry of organic matter in recent to ancient sediments. Topics include the source, characterization, significance, and fate of sedimentary organic compounds with emphasis on the marine environment. (Lec. 3) Pre: 523 or permission of instructor.

628 High-Temperature Geochemistry (3)

Principles and factors governing the distribution of trace elements in volcanic processes. Applications to the study of rock genesis, mantle dynamics, oceanic crust formation, and hotspots. (Lec. 3) Pre: CHM 431 or equivalent, or permission of instructor.

631 Seminar in Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry (1)

Discussion of problems of current interest in marine chemistry. (Seminar) Pre: 521 or permission of instructor. S/U credit.

640 Marine Particles (3)

Discussion of the chemical, biological, and physical processes that control particle formation, transformation, and sedimentation in the oceans. Pre: permission of instructor.

643 Subduction Zones (3)

Structure, petrology, and geochemistry of subduction zones, island arcs, and other magmatic arcs at convergent plate margins. Petrogenesis of andesites and related magmas. (Lec. 3) Pre: 540 or permission of instructor.

645 Petrology of the Oceanic Crust (3)

Nature and origin of igneous and metamorphic rocks of the oceanic crust of the earth; mineralogy, petrology, and petrogenesis of seafloor rocks; metamorphism of the ocean crust. (Lec. 3) Pre: graduate standing or permission of instructor.

649 Plankton Paleoecology (3)

Concepts of paleoecology. Interaction between planktonic marine organisms and their environment over evolutionary time scales. The use of fossil plankton in reconstructing paleoenvironmental conditions and paleoecological systems. Patterns, causal hypotheses, and geological consequences of temporal and geographic variation in Cretaceous and Cenozoic plankton assemblages. (Lec. 2, Lab. 2) Pre: permission of instructor.

651 Marine Stratigraphy (3)

Concepts and methods of biostratigraphy, lithostratigraphy, and chronostratigraphy. Stratigraphic nomenclature. Stratigraphic correlation and completeness. Special focus will be placed on the integration of multiple stratigraphic techniques and their application to the Cretaceous and Cenozoic marine record. Class discussion of advances and problems in recent research articles. (Seminar) Pre: permission of instructor.

655 Paleomagnetism and Geomagnetism (3)

Earth’s magnetic field, origin and dynamo theory, rock magnetism and paleomagnetism, field directions in rocks and sediments, and temporal variation. Magnetic recording by ridges and seamounts; forward/inverse modeling, skewness analysis. (Lec. 3) Pre: 540 or permission of instructor.

661 (or BIO 661) Phytoplankton Taxonomy (3)

Classical and modern systems and techniques for the identification, nomenclature, and classification of planktonic algae, with emphasis on marine forms. Phylogeny will be briefly considered. (Lec. 1, Lab. 4) Pre: permission of instructor.

663 (or BIO 663) Phytoplankton Physiology (3)

Metabolic processes and methods of their investigation in phytoplankton with primary emphasis on functions pertinent to their ecology. Includes adaptation, uptake of nutrients, excretion, rhythms, pigments, and photosynthesis. (Lec. 3) Pre: graduate standing or permission of instructor.

664 (or BIO 664) Phytoplankton Ecology (3)

Biology and ecology of the pelagic marine microscopic algae with emphasis on their adaptations, physiological ecology, distribution, succession, production, and regional and seasonal dynamics. (Lec. 3) Pre: permission of instructor.

665 Marine Bio-Optics and Remote Sensing (3)

Bio-optical properties of ocean waters. Major focus is on basic principles of visible-band ocean remote sensing and its application to determining phytoplankton pigment and production at regional to global scales. (Lec. 2, Lab. 2) Pre: 561. Offered in odd-numbered years.

666 Zooplankton (3)

Biology of marine zooplankton, dealing with morphology, adaptation, distribution, physiology, production, and interrelationships with other members of the marine biota. (Lec. 1, Lab. 4) Pre: permission of instructor.

668 Productivity of Ocean Margins (3)

Processes affecting biological productivity of ocean margin waters. Major focus on dynamics of production in mid to outer shelf waters and adjacent boundary currents. (Lec. 3) Pre: 501, 561.

669 Marine Fish Ecology and Production (3)

Functioning of fishes in major world ecosystems is explored through comparison of feeding ecology, bioenergetics, and production rates. (Lec. 3) Pre: 561 or permission of instructor.

670 Fish Population Dynamics (3)

Methods for estimating vital statistics of fish populations, stock assessment theory and methods, analytical and empirical model development, and fisheries forecasting. (Lec. 3) Pre: graduate standing or permission of instructor.

671 Marine Zooplankton Ecology (3)

Marine zooplankton community structure and function including the relation of spatial and temporal distribution patterns to the oceanic environment, organism interactions, secondary production, feeding, and reproduction. Emphasis on open-ocean communities. (Lec. 3) Pre: 561 or permission of instructor.

673 Fisheries Oceanography (3)

Physical and biological processes acting at the egg, larval, juvenile, and adult stages of commercially important fish and shellfish. Topics include: growth, survival, and recruitment dynamics; larval dispersal and fish distributions; changes in long-term abundance in relation to climate. (Lec. 3) Pre: graduate standing or permission of instructor. 501, 561 recommended.

678 Low-Temperature Geochemistry and Isotope Geology (3)

A study of processes important in determining the chemical and isotopic mass balance of the oceans and the geochemistry of deep-sea sediments. (Lec. 3) Pre: 521.

679 (or BIO 679) Animal Communication (2)

Visual, chemical, and auditory communication in animals, including receptor systems, feedback, and redundancy. Functional aspects and organization of communication. Discussion of readings. Research problem can be taken under 691 or BIO 691. (Lec. 2) Pre: BIO 467 or equivalent and permission of instructor.

689 Coastal Marine Ecosystems (3)

Basic principles of estuarine and coastal ecology. Offered spring semester only. Two 1-hour lecture-discussion sessions per week. (Lec. 3) Pre: undergraduate or graduate science major, basic ecology course.

691, 692 Individual Study (1-6 each)

Individual study of assigned topics or special problems involving literature search and/or original investigation under one or more members of the faculty. (Independent Study)

693, 694 Special Studies (1-4 each)

Studies of specialized topics in the marine sciences. (Independent Study)

695 Seminar in Oceanography (1 each)

Students give seminar reports on problems and current research in various areas of oceanography. (Seminar) Attendance and registration are required of all graduate students in residence, but no more than 2 credits are allowed for a program of study. S/U credit.

699 Doctoral Dissertation Research

Number of credits is determined each semester in consultation with the major professor or doctoral committee. (Independent Study) S/U credit.

930 Workshop in Oceanography Topics for Teachers (0-3)

Especially designed for teachers of physical sciences. Basic topics in oceanography from an advanced or pedagogical perspective. (Workshop) Pre: teacher certification.

Note: Graduate students in oceanography may choose from supporting courses in other departments in consultation with their major advisor.

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